October 21, 2017

We are happy to announce the release of our latest version, Ubuntu Studio 17.10 Artful Aardvark! As a regular version, it will be supported for 9 months. Since it’s just out, you may experience some issues, so you might want to wait a bit before upgrading. Please see the release notes for a complete list […]
on October 21, 2017 04:00 AM

Berbicara mengenai bahasa inggris berarti kita berbicara tentang bahasa dunia. Sejak dulu bahasa inggris digunakan sebagai bahasa jalur internasional dimana orang-orang dunia menggunakan bahasa inggris sebagai alat komunikasi dengan orang-orang di luar negaranya. Di Indonesia sendiri bahasa inggris adalah mata pelajaran yang ada di setiap sekolah dari jenjang sekolah dasar hingga jenjang sekolah menengah atas.

Bahkan bahasa inggris masuk dalam mata pelajaran yang wajib ditempuh melalui (UNBK) Ujian Nasional Berbasis Komputer. Maka dari itu perlu pemahaman yang lebih komprehen untuk mempelajari bahasa inggris itu sendiri. Pada kesempatan kali ini, kita akan membahas dan menganalisa pengertian, jenis, dan contoh clause.

Pengertian clause

Clause atau dalam bahasa ndonesia yaitu klausa. Sedangkan dalam bahasa inggris bisa diartikan sebagai“A part of a sentence containing a subject and a verb” yang artinya “bagian dari kalimat yang mengandung subjek dan kata kerja”. Kata kerja itu sendiri bisa berupa to be (is,am,are), (was,were) atau real verb (eat,cook,study,etc).

Jenis – jenis clause dan contohnya

Berikut ini adalah contoh kalimat clause bahasa inggris

  1. Independent clause/Main Clause/Induk kalimat

Independent clause atau induk kalimat adalah kalimat lengkap yg berdiri sendiri seperti pada contoh Independent Clause yang terdiri dari subjek dan kata kerja dalam satu kalimat dimana kalimat tersebut tetap mempunyai arti walaupun tidak ada clause yang lainnya.

  • She reads a book
  • Alex is dilligent
  1. Dependent clause/ Subordinate clause/Anak kalimat

Dependent clause atau anak kalimat adalah kalimat yang tidak lengkap dimana kalimat ini tidak dapat berdiri sendiri. Terdiri dari subjek dan kata kerja dalam satu kalimat dimana kalimat tersebut harus diawali dengan induk kalimat kemudian kata penghubung.

  • altough he is sick

Kalimat ini adalah kalimat yang tidak mempunyai arti maka harus diawali dengan induk kalimat, seperti : He still goes to school altough he is sick.

  • after Claura went to the market

maka diikuti induk kalimat seperti : Samuel bought an apple after Claura went to the market

          3. Noun clause

Noun clause dapat digunakan untuk menggantikan subjek dan objek.

Rumus penulisannya adalah Conjunction (kata penghubung)+Subject+Verb. Jika induk kalimatnya adalah bentuk 3 Simple Present Tense maka anak kalimat bisa menggunakan present tense atau past tense. Namun, jika induk kalimatnya adalah bentuk past tense maka anak kalimatnya harus dalam bentuk Simple Past Tense juga.

noun clause menggantikan subjek :

  • Adi studied English = Who I saw studied English
  • The fruit is sweet = What she eats is sweet
  • Who I saw and What she eats adalah Noun clause

noun clause menggantikan objek :

  • You bring a dictionary = You bring what I need
  • I liked it very much = I like what she want
  • what I need and what she cooked adalah Noun clause
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  1. Adjective clause

Fungsinya adalah untuk mendeskripsikan kata benda menggunakan who, which atau that. Who digunakan untuk orang, which digunakan untuk benda dan that digunakan untuk orang dan benda. Sebenarnya masih banyak kata penghubung seperti whose dan whom tetapi kata penghubung ini jarang sekali digunakan dan biasanya hanya digunakan pada formal English saja.

adjective clause menggantikan subjek :

  • My smartphone is expensive
  • It is given by my father
  • My smartphone which is given by my  father
  • I meet the girl
  • She drinks a cup a coffee
  • I meet the girl who drinks a cup a coffee

adjective clause menggantikan objek:

  • The novel was good
  • I read it
  • The book which I read was good
  • I liked the woman
  • I met him at the canteen
  • I liked the woman who(m) I met at the canteen
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     5. Adverb clause                                   

Adverb clause atau Dependent Clause adalah rangkaian anak kalimat yang tidak dapat berdiri sendiri. Adverb clause harus diawali dengan independent clause atau induk kalimat. Berikut ini adalah contoh kalimat clause bahasa inggris

adverb clause untuk menunujukkan sebab dan akibat:

  • Because our tv was broken, we watched tv on the smartphone
  • We watch tv on the smartphone because our tv was broken.
  • Untuk menunujukkan sebab akibat kita juga bisa menggunakan penghubung since atau now that. Since disini berarti “karena” menunjukkan fakta atau hal itu memang terjadi.
  • Since next week is holiday, we do not have to go to library Sedangkan now that berarti penyebab sekarang yang berakibat ke kondisi sekarang atau masa depan.
  • Do you want to go to cafe? Now that the rain has stopped

adverb clause untuk menunujukkan perbedaan atau perbandingan menggunakan kata penghubung because atau even though :

  • Because I am sick, I do not go to school
  • Even though I am sick, I go to school

Jadi, penjelasan di atas adalah rangkaian penjelasan mulai dari pengertian, jenis dan contoh kalimat clause bahasa inggris yang menjadi dasar atau biasa digunakan dan diterapkan di sekolah. Pahami dan mulailah untuk mengerjakan soal-soal mengenai clause. Dengan begitu kita akan lebih mudah paham Grammar Bahasa Inggris.

The post 50 Contoh Kalimat Clause Bahasa Inggris appeared first on AZBahasaInggris.com.

on October 21, 2017 03:37 AM tagged with grammar
SoftBank is planning to create $100 billion Vision Fund sequels, Chariot is temporarily paused in San Francisco and Stitch Fix shows us what a good IPO looks like. All this on Crunch Report. Read More
on October 21, 2017 03:30 AM tagged with recap
“Ayolah kawan, saya sudah cukup bersabar,” celetuk si pembawa acara dengan logat Papua kental. Sudah lima belas menit dia menunggui para penari untuk naik ke panggung namun mereka tidak menampakkan batang hidungnya barang sedikitpun. Menunggu dan menunggu. Akhirnya para penari
on October 21, 2017 02:37 AM tagged with Kab Jayapura

When Byron Allen’s Entertainment Studios, riding high after the early hit “47 Meters Down,” bought “Chappaquiddick” and “Hostiles” out of Toronto, it looked like they might provide direct competitors for a Best Actor Oscar slot. Now Scott Cooper’s $50-million western “Hostiles,” which earned upbeat reviews and press out of Telluride and TIFF, is heading for a December release and an Oscar campaign for Christian Bale.

“Chappaquiddick,” however, will have to wait.


John Curran’s “Chappaquiddick” (a $4 million pickup, with a $16 million P&A) will wisely hold off for a 2018 release on April 6. Jason Clarke would have not only been competing with Bale for a Best Actor slot, but also with himself in Dee Rees’s southern drama “Mudbound” (November 17, Netflix).

Read More:‘Chappaquiddick’ Review: Jason Clarke Excels in Compelling Teddy Kennedy Biopic That Pulls No Punches
on October 21, 2017 01:58 AM tagged with Jason Clarke

Bitcoin accomplishes what central bankers cannot: a stable and powerful economic system. It’s no wonder they hate digital currency.

In my first article for the Cointelegraph I tried to explain the value of Bitcoin to citizens of countries that practice capital controls, which are usually countries with less economic development.

A day later, I read an article where the president of the Central Bank of Brazil exposes his lack of understanding and appreciation about digital currency, which could be such a boon to citizens of my native country, Brazil.

I believe that the best way to explain it is through practical examples, so I will summarize my experience with the legal tender currency of my country.

I was born in 1981, during the decade of hyperinflation in Brazil, I remember that it was normal to see the supermarkets crowded during the first week of the month. This is because on payday, everybody groceries for the entire month since prices were changed every day, sometimes more than once a day.

Our money lost value every minute, while the government's printing machine worked at a frenetic pace.

During more than 10 years of hyperinflation, several leaders sitting in the chair of the Finance Minister or the President of the Central Bank tried to reduce or minimize inflation. They didn’t do it the hard way, and the way that might have worked, by cutting government spending. Instead, these men had pipe dreams, coming up with economic plans they thought were most miraculous.

One of these pie-in-the-sky plans definitively marked the Brazilian people. During the government of President Fernando Collor, the Minister of Finance, Zelia Cardoso de Mello, confiscated all the money that Brazilians kept in banks. The idea was simple: without money there would be no demand for products, so inflation would be controlled.

Obviously this didn’t work to save the economy, but it did devastate many Brazilians. Some, like my grandfather, relied on their life savings to pay for their medical care. These people were badly hurt.

What does history teach us?

First of all, a deflationary currency such as Bitcoin, whose economic model is based on that of thinkers like Frederich Hayek, is valuable to all citizens of countries that fear of inflation.

Second, inhabitants of countries that have already experienced economic chaos know how valuable it is to have assets that cannot be confiscated overnight. Today we have examples such as Venezuela, and a few years ago, Argentina.

There is a popular saying in Brazil that a dog that has been bitten by a snake is afraid of a sausage. In America, you might say “once bitten, twice shy.” Those who have lived through hyperinflation can really understand the value of a deflationary currency.

That's why we love Bitcoin, and why most of the central bankers hate it. Deep down they are envious, even fearful, of Bitcoin’s economic model. Bitcoin has achieved what is impossible for them, the creation of the first truly deflationary currency that’s free from the mismanagement of governments.

on October 21, 2017 01:07 AM tagged with Hyperinflation

The Nielsen “Doctor” is in. After three weeks of the new season, the ABC drama “The Good Doctor” appears to be a bonafide hit for the network.

According to the latest Nielsen data covering three days’ worth of time-shifting (including DVR and video on demand viewing), “The Good Doctor” is averaging 16.42 million viewers — making it not just TV’s most-watched new drama, but TV’s most-watched drama, period. That’s because after three weeks, “The Good Doctor” is just a smidge above CBS’ perennial powerhouse “NCIS” (16.35 million) and NBC’s emotional juggernaut “This Is Us” (16.19 million).

The show, starring Freddie Highmore as a high-functioning autistic physician, is also the fall’s No. 1 freshman drama and top-rated 10 p.m. series among Adults 18-49 (3.7 rating).

Read More:‘The Good Doctor’ Is Destroying One Misconception About Autism at a Time

David Shore executive produces “The Good Doctor,” which is based on a South Korean format, and also stars Antonia Thomas, Nicholas Gonzalez, Chuku Modu, Beau Garrett, Hill Harper, Richard Schiff, and Tamlyn Tomita as Allegra Aoki. The series’ uplifting concept, just like last year’s breakout “This Is Us,” has been credited for some of its success. With the darkness of real-life headlines dominating public thought, “The Good Doctor” provides a bit of an escape for viewers (and also fits well with lead-in “Dancing with the Stars”).

Meanwhile, the third week of the new season (Oct. 9-15) saw the usual solid numbers for baseball playoffs and weekly NFL games. “The Big Bang Theory” was once again the leader with all viewers (16.8 million).

Here are this week’s rankers:

Adults 18-49 ranker, week ending Oct. 15, 2017:








NFL Sunday Night Football: Giants vs. Broncos NBC 




NFL Thursday Night Football: Eagles vs. Panthers CBS/NFL




This Is Us NBC




The Big Bang Theory CBS




NFL Monday Night Football: Vikings vs. Bears ESPN




The Good Doctor ABC




Grey’s Anatomy ABC  




The Voice (Monday) NBC

Will & Grace NBC






The Voice (Tuesday) NBC




Empire Fox

Modern Family ABC






60 Minutes CBS




Survivor CBS

MLB AL Division Series: Yankees vs. Indians (Oct. 11) FS1






The Gifted Fox

Scandal ABC

The Goldbergs ABC

American Housewife ABC

Chicago PD NBC

MLB NL Division Series: Dodgers vs. Diamondbacks (Oct. 12) TBS

MLB NLCS: Dodgers vs. Cubs (Oct. 15) TBS
















The Orville Fox

Star Fox

The Middle ABC


Criminal Minds CBS

American Horror Story: Cult FX

Law & Order: SVU NBC

Chicago Fire NBC

















Adults 18-49; ratings points. Source: Nielsen Media Research
Read More:LAST WEEK’S RATINGS: ‘Game of Thrones’ On-Demand Viewership Dominance Is Finally Broken, By ‘This Is Us’ — Ratings Watch

Total viewers ranker, week ending Oct. 15, 2017:






The Big Bang Theory CBS








The Good Doctor ABC




NFL Sunday Night Football: Giants vs. Broncos NBC




This Is Us NBC




NFL Thursday Night Football: Eagles vs. Panthers CBS/NFL




Bull CBS




60 Minutes CBS




The Voice (Monday) NBC




The Voice (Tuesday) NBC




Blue Bloods CBS




NCIS: New Orleans CBS




Hawai’i Five-0 CBS




NCIS: Los Angeles CBS 




Grey’s Anatomy ABC




Dancing with the Stars ABC




Seal Team CBS




NFL Monday Night Football: Vikings vs. Bears ESPN




Survivor CBS




Will & Grace NBC




Wisdom of the Crowd CBS




Chicago Fire NBC




Chicago PD NBC 




Madam Secretary CBS 




Criminal Minds CBS 



Total viewers; in millions. Source: Nielsen Media Research


Here is this week’s Xfinity On Demand ranker:

Top 20 TV Series, Oct. 9-15, 2017:





This Is Us



Game of Thrones



The Good Doctor 



Will & Grace



American Horror Story: Cult






Curb Your Enthusiasm



Rick and Morty

Adult Swim


The Big Bang Theory



The Simpsons



Ray Donovan



The Voice






The Gifted



Grey’s Anatomy



The Orville



 Designated Survivor



The Deuce



Teen Mom 2



Chrisley Knows Best



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on October 21, 2017 12:50 AM tagged with The Good Doctor
 Although we may disagree on the usefulness of VR and AR today, it’s hard to argue with the idea that it should be easier to develop for and deploy — especially on the web. That’s why Mozilla is working on a combined framework that gives developers standardized, well-documented tools with which to access the user’s chosen mixed reality platform. Read More
on October 21, 2017 12:17 AM tagged with Virtual reality

When Richard Turner says he has a “two or three pack-a-day habit,” he’s not talking about cigarettes. A self-described “card mechanic” (because he can fix a card game), Turner is almost never without a deck in his hands — at one point in “Dealt,” Luke Korem’s sweet but listless documentary about the legendary sleight-of-hand trickster, Turner’s wife recounts how she once caught him absently running a card over his fingers while they were having sex. Needless to say, the 63-year-old has put in his 10,000 hours more than 10 times over.

Also: He’s completely blind. And he might not want you to know that. The fact might sound self-evident — he’s a close-up magician! — but Turner never gives anything away. From the moment he saunters on stage at Hollywood’s Magic Castle, everything is part of the act, including the eye contact he appears to make with the intimate crowd. Other people might be inclined to make that a gimmick, but Turner doesn’t end his show by letting viewers in on the secret. On the contrary, he’d rather the world see him as a sighted man. “I don’t like sympathy,” he barks,” and I don’t like the theme ‘handicap makes good.’” He’s not kidding. This is a guy who earned a black belt in karate and wouldn’t share the newspaper story about his big moment because the headline referenced his blindness.

Korem isn’t interested in helping Turner maintain that illusion. In fact, he spoon-feeds the reveal by having a stranger just blurt it out, giving us only a few shots to suss out the truth for ourselves. Not only does the gambit deprive us the pleasure of fully appreciating what Turner has taught himself to do, it also deprives Turner the privilege of “coming out” on his own terms. In what is ultimately a movie about a blind man learning to rely on the support of his loved ones, it often feels like “Dealt” is actively pushing its subject toward the ending it wants him to have.

Read More:David Fincher Explains the Real Reason His $9 Million HBO Series Never Happened

Fortunately, Korem is working with one hell of a subject. Warm, obsessive, idiosyncratic, and — despite his best efforts — a little inspiring, Turner is nothing if not a fantastically interesting human being. The most astounding part of Turner’s tricks is that knowing how he does them only makes them more impressive, the same way that watching a hummingbird flap its wings in slow motion only makes it that much harder to understand how they can do it at imperceptible speeds.

Toward that end, learning about his personal life doesn’t do a thing to lessen the magic. Turner has a lovely wife, who’s stuck with him through thick and thin. He has a son (named “Asa Spades”), who he wants to pursue a different line of work. He also has a very successful sister who suffers from the same handicap — and, in sharp contrast to Richard, has never been shy about asking for help. She uses a guide dog, while Richard just whistles for his wife to come help him, and is too embarrassed to even use a cane. She runs her own construction business, while Richard is left to rely on his routine.

In a film that struggles to find structure, “Dealt” taps into a real sense of purpose when it compares Richard’s approach to his sibling’s, with Korem rather unambiguously throwing his support behind the latter. The end of this story is inevitable from the start, but even that doesn’t entirely rob the film of its drama. Watching Turner learn to accept his weakness is ultimately satisfying, even if this gentle documentary loses a lot of texture with every shuffle.

Grade: C+

“Dealt” is now playing in theaters and on VOD.

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on October 21, 2017 12:01 AM tagged with richard turner

October 20, 2017

In times like this it’s crucial to be aware. Not only of what is happening currently, but to be fully aware is to consistently remember what has happened in the past. “Baltimore Rising,” an HBO documentary film directed by Sonja Sohn, will illuminate the death of Freddie Gray and the aftermath in the city of Baltimore.

Premiering on HBO and HBO NOW on Nov. 20, “Baltimore Rising” seeks insight in those with concrete ties to the city of Baltimore: the police officers, activists, community leaders, and gang affiliates. The film explores how to make change after the community had erupted into “deep divisions between authorities and the community — and underscoring the urgent need for reconciliation.”

Read More:David Fincher Explains the Real Reason His $9 Million HBO Series Never Happened

Among the many insights into the system itself, the doc will spotlight key figures in the community, ones particularly invested in the reconstruction of the city. The highlighted individuals include Genard “Shadow” Barr, a former gang member who now specializes in job reentry programs, and Makayla Gilliam-Price, a young activist who founded her high school’s justice organization.

There’s no shortage of outspoken community members and leaders included in the film, which also features law enforcement and voices of authority as well. Figures like Baltimore Police Commissioner Kevin Davis will appear in “Baltimore Rising,” as well as Dawnyell Taylor, the detective and lead investigator in the Freddie Gray homicide case.

Sonja Sohn, Mark Levin, Anthony Hemingway, George Pelecanos, and Mark Taylor serve as executive producers while Sohn directs.

Watch the trailer below for “Baltimore Rising,” premieres on Nov. 20 on HBO:

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on October 20, 2017 11:17 PM tagged with Sonja Sohn
 Venture capitalists Dave McClure, Jason Caldbeck and Chris Sacca, SoFi CEO Mike Cagney and a top Uber engineer have all been accused of sexual impropriety in the last six months as a growing number of women have come forward about the harassment they have endured by those in power. However, Robert Scoble, who has been accused of sexual misconduct in the past, has so far gone unscathed. Read More
on October 20, 2017 11:16 PM tagged with Robert Scoble
 Apple, AT&T, the FCC and Alphabet’s X division have all put into motion efforts to give residents of Puerto Rico more cellular connectivity. Apple has been working with AT&T to extend and activate cell service for users in Puerto Rico. To improve what is a terrible connectivity situation there, it’s going to enable a provisional band of LTE that has been recently approved,… Read More
on October 20, 2017 11:11 PM tagged with Apple
 Zain Jaffer, who has been CEO of fast-growing mobile ad startup, Vungle, is out of the company after being arrested on a slew of charges, including a lewd act upon a child and assault with a deadly weapon. The alleged victim was his three-year-old son, according to San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe. Wagstaffe told us that Jaffer was initially charged with attempted murder,… Read More
on October 20, 2017 10:45 PM tagged with Zain Jaffer
 Apple’s first few pieces of original programming, Carpool Karaoke and Planet of the Apps, felt more like stumbles out of the gate. In this era of prestige television from cord-cutting platforms like Netflix and Amazon, the shows weren’t exactly, say, House of Cards or Transparent. But a number of moves over the past several months find the company positioning itself as a serious… Read More
on October 20, 2017 10:41 PM tagged with Morgan Wandell

Actress Kate del Castillo — who joined Sean Penn on his October 2015 trek through the Mexican jungle to interview the world’s most famous fugitive — angered the two-time Oscar winner with today’s release of her Netflix docuseries, “The Day I Met El Chapo: The Kate Del Castillo Story.” The New York Times reports that Penn’s lawyer, Theodore J. Boutrous Jr., claimed in a letter last week that the three-part, Carlos Armella-directed account jeopardizes Penn’s safety by hinting the actor aided the Department of Justice in their January 8, 2016 capture of the notorious drug dealer. The next day, Rolling Stone published Penn’s 10,000-word chronicle of he and del Castillo’s trip.

“Blood will be on [Netflix’s] hands if this film causes bodily harm,” wrote Boutrous. In a separate, October 14 letter to the lawyer of del Castillo’s co-executive producer, David Broome, Boutrous wrote, “It is profoundly disappointing that Netflix and your clients have chosen to disregard the extreme danger they are knowingly creating.”

Related: Kate del Castillo on Being the Mexican Lady Jason Bourne (With a Political Edge) in Netflix’s ‘Ingobernable’

Penn spokesman Mark Fabiani portayed del Castillo in an email to The Times as publicity hungry and uninformed, resulting in the series’ “false, foolish, and reckless narrative.” Penn originally declined to participate in the series, but after watching the footage sometime during the past month, he changed his mind and advocated for additional changes, which Netflix and the filmmakers did not accept.

Netflix released the following statement: “Penn was given the opportunity on multiple occasions to participate in ‘The Day I Met El Chapo’ and did not do so. The events surrounding the now-infamous meeting have been well covered, including by Penn himself in Rolling Stone and his many public comments since. The only new ground we’re breaking with this series is to give Kate a chance to finally tell her side of this stranger-than-fiction story.” Moreover, Bloom told The Times, “We never say in this documentary that Sean Penn is in cahoots with the D.O.J.”

Del Castillo played female drug lord Theresa Mendoza in “La Reina del Sur,” a Telemundo telenovela that aired for one season in 2011. Telemundo and del Castillo are currently at work on a revival, “La Reina del Sur 2,” set eight years after its predecessor. She also plays Mexico’s former first lady in Netflix’s Spanish-language thriller “Ingobernable;” season two arrives in 2018.

“The Day I Met El Chapo: The Kate Del Castillo Story” is streaming now. Watch the trailer below.

on October 20, 2017 10:37 PM tagged with The Day I Met El Chapo: The Kate Del Castillo Story

Remember when Warner Bros.’ surprise smash “It” seemed like it might augur the revival of a near-dreadful box-office year? While “It” now stands at $315 million, that second wind didn’t happen — and looking ahead, there’s little hope of another film worthy of that optimism.

Of course, in two weeks we have a new movie from the Marvel conveyor belt in “Thor: Ragnarok,” which could open above $100 million. However, even at that level, it may not rise to savior status.


Brooke Palmer

Initial returns for “It” set records, single-handedly reversed several weeks’ worth of low ticket sales, and threatened to make a real dent in the 6 percent decline in grosses. Unfortunately, other films haven’t joined that rebellion. Sony’s “Blade Runner 2049” may not even see a worldwide gross to equal its production and marketing costs.

There’s virtually no chance this year’s box office will see parity to 2016. We’re tracking just under 5 percent, and careful analysis shows troubling facts that financial analysts — and the three major circuits’ falling stock prices — already grasp.

We ended the October 13 weekend with $893 million in domestic box office. In 2016, we’d made that much by Labor Day, which is very bad news. It gets worse when you consider life without “It”: Without that Stephen King adaptation, we’d be down 35 percent from last year.

That steep drop isn’t all about “It;” it also means that other titles fell sharply. Last year by this point, seven September and October films had opening weekends over $20 million. This year, five managed that, including “It.”


Of about 20 wide releases since Labor Day, only three (apart from “It”) appear to be profitable — and those are largely led by foreign interest. “The Foreigner,” an STX Chinese co-production with Jackie Chan, and 20th Century Fox sequel “Kingsman: The Golden Circle” should make money. With its minuscule budget, last weekend’s “Happy Death Day” should make a nice profit for Universal — but it’s a mediocre performance against other Blumhouse Prods. horror titles.

“Happy Death Day”

Skip forward to Nov. 3, to the opening weekend of “Thor: Ragnarok.” That’s the same position as the first “Thor” sequel in 2013, as well as Warner Bros.’ “Suicide Squad” in August of last year. No live-action film opening in the first two weekends of November has ever opened over $100 million.

That’s very possible for “Thor: Ragnarok,” which would be great. However, it’s also the week’s sole new wide release. Rival studios looked at Thor, considered their options, and cried uncle. So while that’s good for the son of Odin, the weekend will be down for theaters.

on October 20, 2017 10:17 PM tagged with Thor: Ragnarok

As someone who helps organizations to build communities with prospective members and customers, I am always on the lookout for effective methods and techniques for building authentic, valuable engagement. Sadly, as part of this, I often see cases where people get it wrong too. I want to share one such example here.

Bark is a website that provides a service where people can find service providers such as gardeners, plumbers etc. They seem to have around 20 million users and a good TrustPilot rating. I have never used Bark before so I have no idea how good their service is, but it seems their engagement approach is broken.

Now, to be clear, my goal here is highlight a problem and propose a solution. While Bark are the company in question here, they themselves are not the focus of this article. I am less interested in them and more interested in the topic of unsolicited and automated engagement, irrespective of who it is. This is why I didn’t use Bark in the title of this post and I have not optimized my SEO around their name: they are merely a current example (and hopefully they will fix this).

The Problem

Recently I started getting a bunch of emails from Bark in a fairly short timeframe:

Bark Emails

Each one looks fairly similar. Here is an example:

To think I would be good with a lawnmower is ludicrous.

Now, a few key notes here:

  • I have never signed up for Bark, never used the service, never had my badge scanned by someone from Bark at a conference, and never given permission for them to email me.
  • I am not a lawncare professional (quite the opposite, I am a shitty gardener).
  • I don’t live in Solihull. I live on the other side of the planet in California.

After I got the third email I reached out to Bark via Twitter to ask why they are contacting me. They asked me to continue the conversation in a Direct Message. I am not sharing those messages here because I don’t believe in posting private conversations.

In a nutshell, I was informed a colleague got my details online and must have got it wrong about my expertise in lawncare. I asked where they got my details from and they said from my contact page.

When I informed them that spamming is illegal in England, they assured me that the precautions they take in the emails they send (e.g. including an opt-out link) mean their emails operate within the law.

Issues and Solutions

As mentioned above, I have no animosity to Bark themselves, and I am sure they are good people trying to do good work (in fact, their people responding on social media were lovely), but there are flaws in this current model. Let’s cover these and some proposed solutions.

Ensure your emails are accurate

As shown above, the emails I got from Bark were simply broken in the two most critical areas: the service sought and the location. As someone who isn’t a gardener living in California, I am of literally no use in this correspondence.

This means that Bark is wasting my time (opening and reading the email) and wasting their resources (e.g. sending out the emails, trying to connect customers and providers etc).

One would assume this simply providers no value, but it is worse as it now cements Bark in my head as an incompetent organization to get this so wrong.

Solution: always ensure your emails in any context are (a) accurate, (b) personal, and (c) provide value. There is an uncanny valley in emails: people can often spot if they are automated. If you do automate (which is totally fine in many scenarios), it should be personal and offer relevant value.

Don’t send valueless unsolicited email

Now, it is easy to be snippy about unsolicited email, but it is not bad in all scenarios. Importantly, people judge unsolicited email in three areas:

  1. Who sent it
  2. The value of the content
  3. The relevance of the content to the reader

Some unsolicited emails are helpful. For example, when someone out of the blue emails me about hiring me it is of value. As per above, (1) the person themselves sent it, (2) it relates to my area of expertise and business, (3) I can probably serve those needs.

In this case, (1) some random company sent this to me, not the person themselves looking for business, (2) the content as discussed above is entirely mismatched to me or my location, and (3) see #2.

Solution: firstly, you should never send emails to people have not indicated in some form they are happy to get them (e.g. having a badge scanned at a conference or agreeing to receive email). Secondly, always ensure this content is highly tuned to the reader: make it personal, make it demonstrate value specific to them, and include the integrity of the sender in it. Unsolicited email can be used for good but as a general rule it is broadly abused and then it is filed in the spam folder where it never gets looked at.

Don’t scrape contact details

In this instance, it seems my contact details were pulled from my public contact form. Now, to be clear, I put my email address there (it is not hidden).

The issue here is twofold.

Firstly, when I created my contact page, I intended for people to contact me directly with questions, queries, and potential collaborations. I don’t put it there to get unsolicited email.

Secondly, I am convinced that the reason why the original email to me was so inaccurate (lawn services and me living in Solihull) is because they tried to find corrosponding information in some scraped way (or with a minimal level of human effort). Quite how they got to lawn services I don’t know. I did used to live near Solihull at least…

Solution: don’t scrape contact details from the Internet. It is unwanted, it doesn’t work well, and and it offers little value for everyone involved.

Don’t use the law as a defence for poor engagement

When I queried Bark via DM about where they got my contact details and informed them that spamming is illegal in the UK, their response was that they are operating within the laws of the UK. I believe this: I am not suggesting at all that Bark are breaking the law, I don’t think they are.

The problem with this response though is that it is needling out of the problem. Sure, they are working within the parameters of the law, but are they working within the parameters of how people like to be treated online?

I don’t think so.

Solution: don’t send unsolicited email, as outlined above.

Brand Harm

The core of my philosophy with how companies should build communities and engage with their customers/users is that it should be authentic. In a nutshell, treat your customers as you want to be treated yourself.

When we automate away the personality of a service, when we forfeit due diligence in the interests of growth, and when we deliver an experience that puts the other person in a position of being bombarded with content they didn’t ask for, it erodes brand confidence.

I think this is happening here. Just a few small examples:

This is just a few small examples. Visit, their Twitter feed has more.

Firstly, it is clear this behavior is irrating a lot of people. If I was running Bark, I would immediate change this course of action.

Secondly, the common responses from Bark to these frustrations are (1) we were just trying to help a client find someone, and (2) it was in error, it won’t happen again. For the former, this is a weak answer as their methods of finding a service provider are clearly broken, mismatched, and not adding value. It is one thing to get an uninteresting request for one of their clients, but another to get totally irrelevant unsolicited email For the latter, this error appears to be happening so much that I frankly question whether they are trying to resolve the errors as a systematic way (to fix the broader problem) as opposed to an individual level (to simply unsubscribe people).

What’s Next?

I believe sunlight is the best disinfectant and I always admire companies who are open about both their successes and failures. It reminds me when GitLab had their downtime incident: instead of battening down the hatches, they spun up a Google Doc, a live YouTube stream and brought their customers in to help rectify the issue. They got a lot of goodwill from their community.

If you work for an organization where this article smacks a little close to home, I would be open about it, identify where there are failings, and bring your customers in where they can help you to understand the primary value they are seeking and how you can craft that. People respect humility in cases of failure.

The reason I am writing this is because I suspect the folks at Bark are good people making some mistakes, and I suspect other companies are making similar mistakes, so I figured this might be a useful article to mull on.

The post The Risks of Unsolicited and Automated Engagement appeared first on Jono Bacon.

on October 20, 2017 10:12 PM
A surge of voice-assisted speakers rushed the shores this month.
on October 20, 2017 10:01 PM tagged with Gear


Weekend Hashtag Project: #WHPperfectpair

Weekend Hashtag Project is a series featuring designated themes and hashtags chosen by Instagram’s Community Team. For a chance to be featured on the Instagram blog, follow @instagram and look for a post every week announcing the latest project.

Some things are just better together. This weekend, the goal is to take photos and videos that capture duos that complement and enhance each other, as in this featured photo from Mark Abramson (@markabramsonphoto). Here are some tips to get you started:

  • A hammock and a book, coffee and bagels, two best friends — some things just naturally go together. As you go about your weekend, take photos of some of your own perfect pairs.
  • Not every match is so simple! Keep an eye out for more surprising duos — much like this pedestrian and matching billboard — that might be hidden in plain sight.
  • Once you’ve found an interesting pairing, how can you use camera tools to further enhance the match? Try taking a #Boomerang of two running buddies or a video of a dog and cat strolling through your backyard.

PROJECT RULES: Please add the #WHPperfectpair hashtag only to photos and videos taken over this weekend and only submit your own visuals to the project. If you include music in your video submissions, please only use music to which you own the rights. Any tagged photo or video taken over the weekend is eligible to be featured next week.

on October 20, 2017 10:01 PM tagged with instagram

This week we’ve been protecting our privacy with LineageOS and playing Rust. Telegram get fined, your cloud is being used to mine BitCoin, Google announces a new privacy focused product tier, North Korea hacks a UK TV studio, a new fully branded attack vector is unveiled and Purism reach their funding goal for the Librem 5.

It’s Season Ten Episode Thirty-Three of the Ubuntu Podcast! Alan Pope, Mark Johnson and Martin Wimpress are connected and speaking to your brain.

In this week’s show:

That’s all for this week! If there’s a topic you’d like us to discuss, or you have any feedback on previous shows, please send your comments and suggestions to show@ubuntupodcast.org or Tweet us or Comment on our Facebook page or comment on our Google+ page or comment on our sub-Reddit.

on October 20, 2017 10:00 PM

Sean Young, the actress best known for starring opposite Harrison Ford in Ridley Scott’s “Blade Runner,” has accused Harvey Weinstein of sexual harassment. The actress said on the Dudley and Bob with Matt Show podcast that Weinstein exposed himself to her in the early 1990s, when she was starring in the Miramax-produced film “Love Crimes.”

“I personally experienced him pulling his you-know-what out of his pants to shock me,” she said. “My basic response was, ‘You know, Harvey, I really don’t think you should be pulling that thing out, it’s not very pretty.'”

Read More:‘Blade Runner 2049’: How VFX Masters Replicated Sean Young as Rachael

Young never worked with Weinstein again after the incident. “Then never having another meeting with that guy again, because it was like, ‘What on earth?’” she said.

“The minute you actually stand up for yourself in Hollywood, you’re the crazy one,” she continued. “I think that’s why a lot of women don’t come out and didn’t come out about their experiences about that kind of lewdness and ridiculousness with Harvey.”

Young is one of over 40 women who have accused the former head of The Weinstein Company of sexual harassment and abuse since the publication of an article in The New York Times on October 5. Young joins actresses Rose McGowan, Ashley Judd, Asia Argento, Angelina Jolie, and Lea Seydoux in speaking out against Weinstein, among many others.

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on October 20, 2017 09:57 PM tagged with Sexual Harassment
Building on the devastating Mirai botnet that took major sites offline a year ago, Reaper has some scary new tricks.
on October 20, 2017 09:45 PM tagged with Security
 Elon Musk’s week is going pretty great thus far, between meeting the creators of Rick & Morty and now gaining permission to dig even more tunnels — besides the one he already got the OK to begin digging closer to home in Hawthorne. Read More
on October 20, 2017 09:38 PM tagged with maryland
 Shopkick, a shopping rewards app owned by SK Telecom, laid off a little more than 10 percent of its staff (about 30 people) yesterday, TechCrunch has learned. Shopkick CEO Bill Demas confirmed the layoffs to TechCrunch, saying they were part of a broader restructuring of the business. Read More
on October 20, 2017 09:07 PM tagged with layoffs

It’s no surprise that digital tools proved self-destructive. Hollywood has always believed bigger is better, that raw spectacle is the only thing that reliably seduces people into the cinema. To tweak a famous line from one of the films that got us here: The studios were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn’t stop to think if they should.

The disaster movie genre has been dead or dying for a while now, and we’ve reached the point in the grieving process where we’ve come to accept that something like this is going to be utterly defanged by CGI (shout out to the lifeless, plastic likes of “2012” and “San Andreas”), so you almost have to give “Geostorm” a little bit of credit: For a movie about the potentially destructive power of 21st-century technology, it sure is a convincing example of the potentially destructive power of 21st-century technology.

“Geostorm” is the logical (and hilariously illogical) conclusion to such shortsighted thinking. At a time when the world has become a disaster movie unto itself and our appetite for destruction is sated on a daily basis, a time when hurricanes repeatedly deprive millions of American citizens of their most basic needs, people don’t need to go to the multiplex to see waters rise and cities crumble. That’s problematic for Hollywood, where it’s custom to deal with a losing hand by raising the stakes rather than changing the game.

So while Warner Bros. could have chosen not to make soulless popcorn shlock about killer weather, we have “Geostorm,” a pathetic wannabe blockbuster so absurdly excessive (and so excessively absurd) that it bears almost no resemblance to life on Earth. There’s nothing triggering about a tidal wave sweeping through Dubai, or a hyper-targeted lightning storm exploding a sports arena in Orlando. These things are about as believable as the “Hong Kong” street that blisters apart because of an extreme heatwave. (Studio execs, take note: A few million dollars’ worth of neon doesn’t change the fact that downtown Kowloon looks absolutely nothing like a soundstage in Louisiana.) In a movie where Gerard Butler plays the satellite designer who singlehandedly solved global warming, it’s hard to believe that the story even takes place on our planet, let alone cares about how it’s destroyed.

Read More:‘The Big Sick’: How Two Novice Screenwriters Mined Their Relationship for an Award-Worthy Script

Butler, an actor who delivers every line of dialogue with his entire face, is Jake Lawson, an engineer who saved the world before “Geostorm” even starts. In 2019, Lawson spearheaded the “Dutch Boy” project, a system of satellites that covers the Earth like a net and keeps the weather in check. What could go wrong? Or, more specifically, what could go wrong in addition to calling the single most important invention of all time “Dutch Boy?”

Cut to three years later: Something goes wrong. An Afghani village in the middle of the desert has been frozen solid. And since “Geostorm” takes place in a fantasy world where the President of the United States actually gives a shit about people of color, foreign or domestic, POTUS (Andy Garcia) orders Jake out of his semi-alcoholic stupor and up into space. The plot thickens from there: Not only is it an election year, but the U.S. is also just two weeks away from surrendering control of Dutch Boy to the U.N.

This key detail raises the first of many compelling questions. Questions like: Why should one country have full authority over something that impacts the entire world? Are we supposed to understand why Jake is so mad that his younger brother (Jim Sturgess) is now running the show? Wouldn’t it have saved a lot of energy if Ed Harris’ thinly veiled mastermind was just named “Secretary of State Leonard Conspiracy McSabotage?” How do you cast Ed Harris in a movie about people controlling the weather and not have him say: “Cue the sun?” And while we’re on the subject: What the hell is a “Geostorm,” anyway?


The kind of movie that’s somehow both incredibly predictable and completely incoherent, “Geostorm” unfolds in discrete blocks of nonsense. Jake is up in orbit, performing some fun “Gravity” cos-play with a German astronaut named Fassbinder (because if you can’t make great cinema, you might as well make people think of great cinema). These scenes range from useless to boring, with one truly incredible detour into intergalactic product placement (“Dutch Boy isn’t a Chromebook,” Jake tells his little brother, “you can’t just touch it and expect everything to work!”).

Back on Earth, we’re treated to bloodless flashes of destruction, such as a frozen cargo plane crashing into Brazil and… well, actually it’s hard to think of too many others. The last 20 minutes notwithstanding, this is more of a Geomist than a Geostorm, and the storytelling is so disjointed that only a small handful of set pieces emerge intact. First-time director Dean Devlin was clearly inspired by the decades he’s spent writing and producing for Roland Emmerich, but he seems not to have learned that humans — even the glorified extras whose entire arcs are squeezed into a single sequence — are the lifeblood of a good disaster movie. Here, there isn’t any weight to what’s happening; Millions of people die, and you hardly feel a thing. “Geostorm” is terrible entertainment, but it’s a remarkably effective window into Donald Trump’s soul.

Maybe it’s best to think of “Geostorm” as a political film: The more apocalyptic this movie gets, the more it hones in on the flaws of Donald Trump’s “America First” philosophy. As the closing voiceover puts it: “One planet, one people.” Even in a future threatened by global warming, human nature remains the real problem. But if “Geostorm” is an accurate representation of how Hollywood handles any of our rapidly changing environments, it might be time to surrender control of the film world to someone else.

Grade: D-

“Geostorm” is now playing in theaters.

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on October 20, 2017 09:00 PM tagged with Reviews

In 1989, Josh Brolin starred in the ABC western series “The Young Riders.” Then recently married with a kid, the 21-year-old actor began attending AA meetings while shooting on location in Tucson. There he met fireman Danny Martin, who would become his close friend of three decades.

“He introduced me to an incredible community [of firefighters] that I am still very close with,” said Brolin. “I just spent a lot of time with firefighters since my early 20s. I love the ribbing, I love that you have to man up. They challenge you and if you can’t hang you won’t hang, they won’t let you hang.”

So Brolin was extremely skeptical when director Joseph Kosinski (“Tron: Legacy”) approached him with a script about the famed Granite Mountain Hotshots — the heroic Prescott, Ariz. fire crew that battled the Yarnell Hill fire in 2013 and tragically lost 19 members (many of whom Martin knew personally).

In playing Granite Mountain Hotshot leader Eric Marshin in “Only the Brave,” Brolin knew the importance of getting the story right. He questioned if Kosinski, best known for his work with CGI, was the right person to tell the story.

Director Joseph Kosinski on the set of Columbia Pictures' ONLY THE BRAVE.

“Only the Brave” Director Joseph Kosinski

Richard Foreman, Jr./LIONSGATE

“I’ve gotten very spoiled working with directors at the top of their game and he was someone who was technically proficient, but to me hadn’t done an emotional story,” said Brolin, whose career includes films with the Coen Brothers, Paul Thomas Anderson and Denis Villeneuve. “There will be a lot of those types of guys that will be like, ‘This is my passion project, man, and I’m going to be on your eyes, because it’s all about your eyes tell a story,’ and you’re just like, ‘Oh fuck, get me out of here.'”

Read More:‘Only the Brave’ Review: Josh Brolin and Miles Teller Are Hardworking Firefighters in Emotional Drama

With Kosinski, Brolin took the attitude of an Arizona firefighter: Prove it. The director’s straightforward, no B.S. persistence eventually won Brolin over.

“I believed him, and I was like, ‘If you want to partner up with this, I don’t want you to be one of those directors who says you’re going to be in the middle of it and then suddenly you are in your cush car with a cashmere sweater on — I want you to be out there with us,'” said Brolin. “And he was, very much. He was as much one of the guys as anyone.”

What Brolin loved about his firefighter friends — across all the varied personalities, some total misfits — was a familial bond rooted in knowing that each member could be counted on, both in fighting fires and in life. He took the same “man up” attitude toward the actors who portrayed his onscreen crew, including Miles Teller, James Badge Dale, and Taylor Kitsch. Brolin led a pre-shoot regimen that mirrored the Hotshots’ mountain training, one that went well beyond the fitness routines most actors know.

Josh Brolin leads training to become hotshots in “Only the Brave”

Richard Foreman, Jr/LIONSGATE

Brolin told his Hotshot co-stars: “‘You have a skill, which is acting, but I don’t you want to live as actors. There’s too much entitlement. So we’ll live as much as possible as these guys lived during this process. So when you carry a 45-pound pack after a month, you aren’t going to ask the prop guy to put foam in your backpack. If anything, I want people filling their buddies’ packs with more rocks.’ I think that [mentality] was established in the beginning.”

Read More:Dave Bautista Wrestles With Becoming a Nuanced Character Actor with the Body of a ‘Fucking Gorilla’

Brolin says he did this as much for himself: He found the prospect of playing Marsh terrifying. Brolin made sure to surround himself with those who knew the Granite Mountain crew, including Marsh’s real-life mentor Duane Steinbrink, who Jeff Bridges played in the film.

“Josh took on this part in such a way that many actors wouldn’t,” said Bridges. “You want to do a certain amount of training, sure, but he took it to the nth degree. He trained with all the other actors, in their parts, like it was a giant improv. He was the head of the hotshots, he took that on and the other actors appreciated that. It made their job easier.”

A troubled

Josh Brolin and Jeff Bridges, “Only the Brave”

Richard Foreman, Jr./LIONSGATE

Despite all the physical training “Only the Brave” demanded, Brolin said it didn’t prepare him for his recent action films. He’s villain Thanos in the next two “Avengers” movies and Cable in “Deadpool 2,” which he just wrapped with stunt coordinator-turned-director David Leitch (“John Wick,” “Atomic Blonde”).

Read More:‘Atomic Blonde’: How They Turned One Amazing Action Scene Into a Seven-Minute Long Take

“It’s like for [‘Only the Brave’] I needed to be in great interior shape, where as or ‘Deadpool’ it was more exterior,” said Brolin. “Every stunt man thinks I’m a stunt man, and I have to remind them that I’m actor. Dude, it’s both the best [doing action scenes with Leitch] and it’s awful. I’m almost 50 and I’m feeling it. I’m feeling it in my knee, my shoulder has to get fixed now, I got to get the hernia operation. I’m thinking if I’m doing four of these movies and I’m 60 doing ‘Deadpool 9,’ fuck this, I’m screwed, it’s going to be Cable with a walker.”

Brolin says he made a concerted effort to branch into tentpole films after “Only the Brave.” He liked the idea of playing the brilliant Thanos who takes on the Avengers — but the irreverent tone of “Deadpool” meant he struggled to find his place in a crew of comedic actors.

Josh Brolin as Cable in

Josh Brolin as Cable in “Deadpool 2”

Ryan Reynold's Instragram

“There’s something very attractive to me about doing these bigger movies, and it’s not about the money,” said Brolin, who said he made more money on “Only the Brave” than one the two tentpoles. “Then there’s the aspect I’m not [attracted to]. I won’t talk about which movie, but one of these tentpole movies was the least kind of communal experience I’d had. Ok, it’s a machine and it’s much bigger than anything I had ever experienced and people are coming and going. It’s just a different experience from Granite Mountain, where you’re just there all the time — you are basically living with these guys day in and day out. And I really enjoy that and so as an experience, as a selfish experience, I prefer that.”

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on October 20, 2017 08:51 PM tagged with The Avengers: Infinity War

Following the spectacular break of the $5,000 barrier last week, many suspected that $6,000 would fall in due course. They were right.

Bitfinex, the highest volume BTC/USD exchange, broke the $6,000 barrier earlier today and has now been joined by all other major exchanges. At press time, the price of Bitcoin had reached $6,041 according to Coinmarketcap.com, causing its market capitalization to exceed $100 bln for the first time ever.

What’s news got to do with it?

The latest surge comes after a week of consolidation over the $5,000 mark, despite the comments of naysayers like Jamie Dimon and the president of Brazil’s central bank. In the last month, China banned ICOs and Bitcoin exchanges, South Korea banned ICOs, the US SEC stepped up scrutiny of ICOs, and the CEO of Chase Bank has been unable to keep his mouth shut.

None of it matters.

For years, Bitcoin has been called “the honey badger of money,” and “antifragile.” The “Bitcoin don’t care” meme is perhaps most applicable of all right now. Bitcoin simply doesn’t care what China does, or what bank CEOs say, or what central bankers think. The only thing Bitcoin cares about, apparently, is increasing in price and adoption.

Can’t hold it back

Many have speculated that institutional money is making its way into Bitcoin, and they are likely correct. LedgerX was recently approved by the Commodities Futures Trading Commission to create a regulated Bitcoin options market. Such a market would give institutions wary of holding the actual digital currency a way to expose themselves to its price movements. LedgerX is scheduled to debut Bitcoin options trading this month.

Bloomberg reports that industry executives expect approval of a Bitcoin ETF in the future. They point to LedgerX, saying that with a regulated derivatives market having been approved by the CFTC, it’s only a matter of time before the SEC gets on board and allows an ETF to be created. Earlier this year, SEC had themselves stated that in the event a regulated options market is developed, they may reconsider their position on Bitcoin ETFs.

The approval of an ETF, or exchange traded fund, is seen to be the holy grail of institutional Bitcoin adoption. Such a fund would be required to actually possess enough Bitcoin to be fully “backed,” and would be easy for institutional and retail investors to use.

What fork?

Perhaps the most surprising aspect of Bitcoin’s latest price moves is the rapidly approaching SegWit2x hard fork. Though 85% of miners are still signalling their intention to go through with the fork, recent defections (such as F2Pool) and statements from exchanges like Bitfinex and Coinbase may have convinced investors that the hard fork will not actually happen.

When asked about SegWit2x, industry CEO Bharath Rao commented that the debate seems to be between miners and businesses on one side, and users and developers on the other. He suggested that whatever chain the miners and businesses ultimately support will likely end up being successful, though it’s hard to predict people’s actions and their ramifications.

Still, Rao believes that forks can actually be perceived as a good thing, because when a winner emerges from such a fork, the marketplace will assume the controversy is ended and will boost the price of the victor.

If Bitcoin’s scaling crisis is finally resolved this November, through the victory of either chain or by means of a last minute fizzling of the hard fork threat, the market will likely continue to act favorably.

on October 20, 2017 08:45 PM tagged with Bloomberg
 If you’re going to convict or acquit based on evidence provided by a piece of software, you’d better be damn sure that software is reliable. One such program, a DNA analysis tool used in over a thousand cases, has been called unreliable by critics — and a federal judge has just ordered that its code be opened for all to see so we can find out one way or the other. Read More
on October 20, 2017 08:41 PM tagged with New York

UPDATE: APA has fired Tyler Grasham after the sexual harassment claims made against him. “Tyler Grasham’s employment with APA has been terminated effective immediately,” an APA spokesperson told Variety.

“Stranger Things” star Finn Wolfhard has parted ways with his talent agency, Agency for the Performing Arts, after sexual assault allegations were publicly made against his agent, Tyler Grasham. Also firing APA on Friday: Young actor Cameron Boyce (Disney’s “The Descendants”), who was also a client of Grasham.

The exits came after former actor Blaise Godbe Lipman accused Grasham of assaulting him when he was a teenager, in a report first published by The Wrap on October 19.

According to Lipman, who is now a 28-year-old filmmaker, Grasham got him drunk and assaulted him in June 2007. The young actor was turning 18 that month.

Read More:Asia Argento Leaving Italy After Press Condemns Her For Accusing Harvey Weinstein of Rape

“Tyler Grasham, under the pretense of a business meeting regarding potential agency representation at APA Agency, fed me alcohol while I was underage and sexually assaulted me,” Lipman wrote in a letter published to his Facebook profile.

“APA Agency has kept this man employed, working with kid actors,” he continued. “I find it incredibly difficult to believe they do not know of his predatory behavior, using his position within the company to prey on naive kids.”

Grasham deleted his Facebook page and Instagram profile within hours of the allegation. The talent agent also represented “Pretty Little Lies” star Keegan Allen. Wolfhard, whose career has skyrocketed from “Stranger Things” and “It” fame, was Grasham’s highest-profile client. APA is currently investigating the allegation.

“APA takes these allegations extremely seriously and is investigating this matter,” an agency spokesperson told TheWrap.

Wolfhard is currently filming the movie “Dog Days” opposite Eva Longoria and Adam Pally. He can next be seen in “Stranger Things 2,” which debuts on Netflix October 27.

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on October 20, 2017 08:32 PM tagged with Finn Wolfhard

Call Me by Your Name,” “The Disaster Artist,” and “Hostiles” will serve as the Centerpiece Galas at AFI Fest (November 9–16), the season’s last major film festival. In addition, documentarian Errol Morris will be the subject of a November 11 Tribute following a screening of “Wormwood,” his six-part, semi-scripted Netflix series (out December 15) that stars Peter Sarsgaard as a son investigating his father’s death.

Morris, 69, previously won the Best Documentary Feature Oscar in 2004 for “The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara.” He’s hoping for similar luck in 2018: Variety reports that Netflix is submitting a separate, theatrical version to The Academy for award consideration in multiple categories.

Related:AFI FEST 2017 Announces Indie Additions, Including ‘Bodied,’ ‘Mr. Roosevelt,’ ‘Thoroughbreds,’ and Many More

Of the three newly-announced Centerpieces, Luca Guadagnino’s “Call Me by Your Name” has had the longest festival run —it premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January, followed by “The Disaster Artist” at South by Southwest, and “Hostiles” at the Telluride Film Festival. On Oct. 19, “Call Me by Your Name” received three Gotham Award nominations (for Best Feature, Best Screenplay, and Breakthrough Actor Timothée Chalamet), while James Franco will vie for Best Actor in “The Disaster Artist,” a film he also directed and produced.

The films will fill out the middle of the festival, now in its 31st year. “Mudbound” and “All the Money in the World” were previously announced as the respective Opening and Closing Night Galas.

Notably absent from the Centerpiece trio is “The Post,” a Pentagon Papers-era period piece helmed by Steven Spielberg, boasting Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks as The Washington Post legendary publisher and executive editor, Katharine Graham and Ben Bradlee. The film was augured as an AFI Fest offering because in 2012, Spielberg chose it as the venue to world premiere “Lincoln,” after giving New York Film Festival audiences a glimpse of an unfinished cut.

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on October 20, 2017 08:30 PM tagged with The Disaster Artist

Renowned architect Renzo Piano and Academy Museum of Motion Pictures Director Kerry Brougher gathered for a lively Q&A at the Academy’s Goldwyn Theater, hosted by Academy governor Laura Dern.

After Thursday’s announcement that the Academy Museum had passed $300 million in fundraising (about 80 percent of their goal, thanks to recent contributions from Bloomberg, Netflix, and the family foundations of Charles V. Roven and Thomas Spiegel), the discussion provided an overview of the architectural design and cultural vision for the museum, under construction at the corner of Fairfax and Wilshire, and scheduled to open in 2019. The museum, which celebrates Hollywood’s past, present, and future, consists of the six-story, 300,000 square-foot Saban building (formerly the legendary May Co. department store) and an adjoining 1,000-seat spherical theater.

Read More:Academy Museum Opens Doors for Preview, But Big Financial Questions Remain

Academy Museum, fourth floor.

Uniting the Past and Future

“The museum is a place of life for the community, like a factory,” said Piano, “somewhere between memory and invention. It’s about the past, it’s about the future, and it’s also about society.”

Piano called the Saban and its adjoining giant white spherical theater as “a beautiful old lady” and “a gentle monster.” Together, his hope is that they will galvanize movie lovers, and attract up to 5,000 people on a Saturday. “When you are in the Saban building and you look north at the sphere theater, you see people moving against the light…and it’s like a little town,” added Piano.

The construction workers continue to build the piazza’s massive dome.

Why a Sphere?

“Why not?” asked Piano, who was drawn to the openness, simplicity, and a sense of the organic. “The reason why we did it this way was because this space is good for emotion, for history, and it’s good for the future. And the presence of this in the city is…absurd. The idea that you embark and take off.”

A rendering of the lobby inside what is now the museum’s Saban building.

Flexible and Permanent

“What Renzo has given us,” said Brougher, “is this great, flexible gallery space for both permanent and temporary exhibitions, a terrace to look out over Hollywood, an education center, a wonderful lobby with places to sit and discuss about movies, and an Oscar experience in the museum, in which you’ll be able to go through the history of the Academy Awards and get your own Oscar. And then, most importantly, perhaps, two movie theaters. This major theater, fully equipped with 35, 70mm, laser projection, and, also, with the ability to show nitrate.”

Dolby Terrace rendering.

Time and Horizontal Space

“While there’s a permanent exhibition space on [floors] two and three, which will be the actual story of moviemaking, on the fourth floor, is a temporary exhibition space, so we’re going to be dealing with exhibitions of directors, thematic exhibitions,” Brougher said. “And I think in our time it’s very important to deal with social and cultural issues in terms of what cinema has actually taken on. But the thing about a museum is that it isn’t vertical and things don’t happen all at once. It’s horizontal, it happens in time.”

An official rendering of the Academy’s 1,000-seat theater.

Making Better People

“The most important thing is that you meet other people and stay together,” said Piano. “And this is the beginning of something magic that is called ‘urbanism.’ For me, architecture is, of course, the art of making well-crafted buildings, for sure, but it’s also the art of making better people. So this is something that I believe cinema will do. Instead of being sure of yourself, you become more subtle and curious, and curiosity is the culture of life. So that is the reason why you build a building like this for the ages. You make it for 5,000 years. Why not in Los Angeles?

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on October 20, 2017 08:14 PM tagged with Academy Of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
 Amazon-owned video game streaming site Twitch today announced a number of new features for streamers aimed at helping their grow their online communities and generate revenue from their online channels. Notably, the company will soon debut several features that will allow video creators to better track their path towards achieving either Affiliate or Partner status – a designation… Read More
on October 20, 2017 08:01 PM tagged with Amazon

Before delving into the how of automation testing using Selenium, let me talk about the why.

Over the past couple of years, the demand for automation has increased at an unprecedented speed and scale as it indispensably minimizes the testing time, eliminate repetitive human tasks and make life easier. The advent of an open source automation testing tools, such as Selenium, has significantly reduced the demand and scope of manual testing.

Needless to say, every testing has its own quirks and best practices! However, there are certain standard best practices that generally apply to most automation, too. Let’s review the best practices of automation testing. You…

on October 20, 2017 08:01 PM

2014 was a big year for David Fincher. Not only was the director returning to theaters with “Gone Girl” in the fall, but he also signed on to co-create and direct an adaption of the UK series “Utopia” for HBO. Fincher had already earned acclaim in the television world for Netflix’s “House of Cards” the year before, and his move to premium cable sounded extremely exciting. “Gone Girl” author Gillian Flynn was set to join Fincher on the series, and the cast included Rooney Mara. But HBO pulled the plug in July 2015, and now we’ll never get to see Fincher’s “Utopia” on the small screen.

The British version of “Utopia” was written and created by Dennis Kelly and ran for two seasons on Channel 4. The story involved a group of people who find a manuscript for the sequel of a cult graphic novel that was rumored to have predicted the worst disasters of the last century. Fearing the sequel predicts the next century of disasters, the group head out on a mission to save the world from mass destruction, all while evading an organization known as The Network.

Read More:‘Mindhunter’: Watch Interviews With the Real Serial Killers and FBI Agents in David Fincher’s Series

Fincher was planning an ambitious adaptation for HBO, but the network and the director couldn’t agree on the necessary budget. In a new interview with the Empire podcast, Fincher looks back on the failed project and reveals that it all came down to $9 million.

“I thought we had really, really good scripts and a great cast and we were getting ready to do that and you know it came down to $9 million,” he said. “In the end, when you actually kind of lay it all out, $9 million in the scheme of things doesn’t sound like a huge discrepancy between what we wanted to do and what they wanted to pay for.”

Fincher teased just how ambitious “Utopia” was going to be by saying that he was planning to have the show released in the summer so that television could have a program to “sort of rival tentpole movies” in terms of “twists and turns.” The director felt $9 million was required to pull the series off, which is a number “Game of Thrones” didn’t even hit per episode until later seasons. Part of the reason the budget was so high was because Fincher demanded to shoot the series in chronological order.

Read More:David Fincher Reveals ‘Mindhunter’ Season 2 Storyline

“Gillian Flynn wrote the scripts and you know it’s a road movie,” he said. “They go from one place to the next place, they burn that place to the ground, they go to the next place and they shave their heads and dye their hair and get tattoos and then burn that place to the ground. It wasn’t ‘Cheers.’ It wasn’t like you build a bar, and then generate some pages and the cast comes in and reads some lines.”

“This was inherently chronological,” he continued. “Any time that you sort of impose a chronology to film production things become—because you literally can’t go to the next scene until you finish the scene in the kitchen that burns do the ground. You have to make sure you have it done, then you can burn it to the ground.”

Alejandro Gonzalez Iñárritu faced a similar issue with his television series “The One Percent,” which Starz dropped earlier this year because shooting in chronological order would be too expensive. Fincher has since moved on to the serial killer drama “Mindhunter,” which is now streaming on Netflix.

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on October 20, 2017 07:46 PM tagged with Utopia

This post is an excerpt from an article previously published by NS1

Benchmarking DNS is not an easy task. As NS1 describes in their article, they use a variety of different testing methods to accomplish this goal, however, each comes with its own set of benefits and drawbacks. The first method uses their latency-based routing engine called Pulsar, and a JavaScript tag in which they embed in web pages across the internet. This also measures performance form the end user’s actual browser to their network.

The second method is using third-party monitoring tools, including Catchpoint, which has proven to be the best method according to NS1.

One of the issues with using some third-party tools is that their “DIY” approach makes it difficult to use for benchmarking. As NS1 put it, well-respected tools cache DNS responses despite their documentation claiming they don’t. This is an important factor when testing popular production domains against test domains that see little or no traffic. The article mentions that NS1 has had to  “prove the hard way (i.e., generating traffic and analyzing traffic via tcpdump) on more than one occasion that Akamai does not offer 1ms DNS resolution globally versus our ~30ms global time.”

The article also explains how using third-party data was useful in benchmarking DNS providers to make the case for purchasing one of them.

When Dnsperf was trying to replace their previous provider with NS1, “Ultimately they agreed that the objective data generated by Catchpoint’s 380 global nodes presented a more accurate picture of our performance and uptime than what they were able to generate on their own. What’s really key is Catchpoint’s ability to measure from eyeball networks and ISPs as opposed to just relying on measurements taken from infrastructure providers and tier 1 carriers. Those measurements can, of course, be useful, but what you really care about is the resolution performance your actual end users get, and Catchpoint is great as it allows us to measure both.”

NS1 is consistently one of the top performing DNS networks when it comes to raw response times, but that’s only part of the story. With properties doing large amounts of DNS traffic, where only a small fraction of their requests reach their name servers because they aren’t served from ISP caches, NS1 provides a significantly faster experience for their end users.

Time to first byte is the best way to think of it: it doesn’t matter how fast NS1 delivers an answer, if they send a single user on Time Warner in Southern California to New York because their Geo-IP database is wrong, every single user on that resolver is going to have an additional 70ms added onto their round trip to your servers.

To read the full article, click here.

The post NS1: Why DNS Can Be Difficult to Benchmark appeared first on Catchpoint's Blog - Web Performance Monitoring.

on October 20, 2017 07:41 PM tagged with end user experience monitoring
 Rebecca Kaden has announced that she’s leaving Maveron to join Union Square Ventures as a general partner on the investment team. She’ll be the first female partner at USV. She said that her faith in the team and also a return to her native NYC were motivating factors in joining the firm. Read More
on October 20, 2017 07:11 PM tagged with Union Square Ventures

“On day two of the coma, I started taking notes,” joked Kumail Nanjiani during a panel at this month’s Hamptons International Film Festival, when asked how he and wife Emily V. Gordon went from vigil-keeper and patient to co-screenwriters of the year’s second-highest-earning indie, “The Big Sick.”

Though the couple married in 2007 — months after their relationship endured the illness depicted onscreen — a half-decade passed before producer Judd Apatow encouraged comedian Nanjiani to write a film adaptation of their ordeal, which doubled as a terribly-timed introduction to his future in-laws. Screenwriter Gordon’s notes dramatically improved her husband’s first draft, and they proceeded to finish the script together, laboring over its development for the next three years, with guidance from producers Apatow and Barry Mendel and director Michael Showalter.

I culled through my and other staff interviews with Nanjiani, Gordon and Showalter, as well as transcripts from Variety’s”10 Actors to Watch” talk moderated by Eric Kohn and the film’s New York press day, to assemble a detailed oral history of the “The Big Sick” screenplay, which is the most likely awards season prospect from Amazon Studios.

Read it and weep: this reveals how long and tough it can be for seasoned producers, directors and screenwriters to develop and craft an award-worthy final shooting script.

KUMAIL NANJIANI: For a long time, [Emily’s illness] was this paralyzing thing that happened that – at least for me when I thought about it – was too big, too much…like touching a live wire.

EMILY V. GORDON: We really did not touch it creatively together for about five years. Right after I got out of the hospital, I wrote a couple of essays about being sick for women’s websites. The essays were awful…That was the extent of it for me [for a while].

KN: I’d met Judd Apatow at a festival, and he was like, “Let’s work together. Do you have any ideas?” I went down and I pitched him a bunch. One was about a ghost witch – it was a witch woman who died and came back as a ghost. He was like, “Do you have any other ideas?”

EVG: I think we’d joked about [our story becoming a movie]… I don’t know that we could have done it [on our own], because we maybe would have drowned in our own story.

KN: Then I said [to Apatow], “You know, the weird thing that happened to us was when Emily and I were first dating, she got really sick and was in a coma for eight days and I hung out with her parents, who I didn’t know at all.” And he was like, “That’s it! Let’s work on that. Go prepare a pitch, come back, and pitch it to me as a movie.” I think he wanted to see if I would put in the work.

Read More:Amazon Studios’ Best Chance to Disrupt the Oscars Again Lies With ‘The Big Sick’

The first draft I wrote was 180 pages – he was like, “Just write everything you remember.” I showed it to Emily and Emily had so many great thoughts  – they weren’t just notes, it was another perspective in the movie.

EVG: [One scene] was just Kumail showing his new girlfriend one of his favorite movies, and she loves it! When I read it, I added in, “Guys are always doing this thing where they want to introduce you to their pop culture world when you start dating them.” It’s just such a funny little thing to me that I’ve experienced my entire life because I’ve always dated nerd guys.

KN: And I was like, “I think we have to write this together.”

EVG: I took a couple of days to think over whether or not I wanted to be involved in it, because it is such a personal and vulnerable thing. A lot of my close friends didn’t know that I’d been sick, because it just wasn’t something I talked about a whole lot…But part of me always knew that this was something that we were going to tackle because we’re both creative people, and this was such a huge thing for us and it changed our lives so much…We realized that this story needed to be told by both of us if it was going to be told at all.

I thought we’d have to make a pitch to Judd like, “This is why we think [we should write it together].” We went in and [he] was like, “Oh yeah, that’s wonderful, great!” It was the easiest thing possible.

KN: We started writing together and that was 2012.

EVG: He was really encouraging about, “The first draft should just be a vomit draft: just take it, put it all on the page, and then you can start shaping it”…The first draft was emotionally difficult – literally just us telling our story in a narrative sense – and then all the drafts after that were much harder.

KN: We wrote for three years, just in our off-time, writing and re-writing and re-writing and re-writing and re-writing… Once we’d gotten our story down as it happened, [Apatow and Mendel] were like, “Now you have to separate yourself from the story, and trust that the emotional core will stay. Just make it a good story.” So that was most of the work we did.

Barry Mendel, Emily V. Gordon, Kumail Nanjiani and Judd ApatowThe Big Sick film premiere, SXSW Festival, Austin, USA - 16 Mar 2017

Mendel, Gordon, Nanjiani, and Judd Apatow at SXSW Festival in 2017.

Tara Mays/Variety/REX/Shutterstock

EVG: Because we live together, that’s quite helpful in a lot of ways – it’s not like you have to get dressed and go meet your writing partner. Kumail and I have two separate writing spaces in our house; no matter how tiny or large our houses have been, it’s always been that we need two separate writing places that we can go and be away from each other, because we drive each other crazy… When he was a stand-up comedian primarily and I was a freelancer primarily, we would both be in the house all the time, and it was like, “Listen, if you are in my face all the time, not only will I not get anything done, I don’t know if I’ll love you anymore.” We need to be a little disciplined and a little separate, and that really helped working on something together.

“Here’s a breakdown of what scenes we have, this is what needs to be written, I’m going to take this, you’re going to take this, let’s split up and go do our work.” Very often you’re not in clothes, you’re in pajamas, you look a mess, your hair is terrible, and that’s it. The grunt work of it is that you’re spending hours and hours and hours writing those drafts, and then we would email those drafts to each other, rewrite each other’s drafts, and then end up yelling from across the house, “Wait, why did you change this?…Let’s get together, be in the same room, and discuss it.”

KN: You’re kind of forcing yourself to relive the most traumatic experiences of your life. [Later, when we were shooting,] I remember walking down the hospital hall and being like, Why am I going through this again? I already did this and now I have to do it with like 20 people watching me and giving me notes on how I’m doing this?

Ultimately it was very therapeutic, [it] really helped me deal with that whole strange experience that I hadn’t really thought about until we started writing about it… [Apatow and Mendel] were like, “So what were you thinking [back then]? What was going on? What was the plan?” And that’s when I realized, Oh, there was no plan…Emily was always very, very honest in the relationship from the beginning; there weren’t any surprises there. What was surprising was to me was talking to her friends while writing and finding out what she had been saying to her friends about me. Her friend was like, “Well it took you forever to say, I love you,” and I was like, “I didn’t know that was expected of me at an earlier date.”

EVG: During our [first year of] meeting[s], [Apatow] wouldn’t open our scripts, he would just put his hand on top of the script and talk about what scripts should be. He’s very macro like, “Here’s a diagram. We want this to happen at this chunk in the movie, this has to happen at this chunk.”

[Apatow and Mendel]’re both very experimental. “What other jobs could Kumail have? What other personality types could Emily’s parents be? What could happen in the third act that feels completely surprising? Should there be a heckling scene?” That was all of their work with getting us to keep trying different options, and not be married to any one specific thing, and certainly not be married to exactly how things happened… Then a couple months later we would come back having tried many of the things [they] suggested, and then we would kind of just keep going from there. And if it was something we felt strongly about, we’d be like, “Here’s why we didn’t do this”…Emily’s parents having their own storyline is something that we were like, “I don’t think we’re going to have room for that,” and they were really great about being like, “Oh, just give it a try, see what little beats you can put in there to show [that] these people are going through stuff, too, and they’re real, actual people.” They also really encouraged us to keep it messy and to not tie everything neatly with a bow…They’re the ones that really got us to stop being precious with the story—and Mike [Showalter] did that a bit, too.

MICHAEL SHOWALTER: It’s not actually you. It’s a fictional character based on something that happened to you. Characters start to take on really interesting dimensions when they start to exist as fully-dimensional fictional characters that you can start building onto. It tends to be hard sometimes to not want to write yourself in a kind of idealized way.

KN: [Showalter] would say to us often, “Separate yourself from this,” and I think Emily understood that before I did.

Zoe Kazan, Kumail Nanjiani, Holly Hunter, Michael Showalter, Ray RomanoNew York Special Screening of Amazon's 'THE BIG SICK', USA - 20 Jun 2017

Zoe Kazan, Nanjiani, Holly Hunter, Michael Showalter, and Ray Romano.


EVG: I tried really hard to be open to the fact that things were going to have to change…to just be as militaristic as possible of what serves the story best…There was a scene in the hospital after I was out of the coma where Kumail brings a laptop and we like watched a movie together in my hospital room. That was both romantic but also I was in so much pain—physical pain—that I was trying really hard to act like I was cool and we were on a date when in reality I was like, Can you please leave? I need to go to sleep now, I feel terrible. So it was simultaneously a really lovely moment and not-so-lovely moment, and we worked hard to put that in the movie, and there was just no version of it that worked. And we ended up finding lateral scenes that kind of accomplished the same thing.

MS: A big part of what we were doing for the year before we shot the movie was taking this incredible true story and scenes and characters and ideas and fitting it into the form of a movie that was entertaining with a universal quality to it. A lot got changed, pushed aside, a lot was added and a lot stayed the same.

EVG: [Showalter] is such an expert in rom-coms, so he was really, really great at helping us kind of subvert a lot of rom-com stuff in the movie that I think could have gone a different direction. [Before] he came on, [the characters of] Emily and Kumail [we]re on the outs, but not fully broken up when Emily gets sick. And he was like, “Let’s push this even further.” He’s also really good with humor…that is genuinely funny but doesn’t take away from the tone of the movie…He was great both in working with the script and also in his direction—and in editing—of helping us to make sure that the movie never went unrealistic and never went too goofy, and never got so upsetting that you’re like terrified what’s going to happen.

MS: Kumail, Emily and I spent three or four months over an entire summer working together on big-picture outlining, cards on a board, scene-by-scene, mostly verbal, taking notes too, act-by-act. We presented the work to Judd and Barry. At that point, the script had made a big step forward so that now we were coming to the next phase, which was to take the script into the world for financing.

Kumail, Emily, Barry and I worked every day all day long for another four or five months, checking in with Judd.

KN: Barry’s a very tough boss to have. Because Barry’s like, “I’m living, eating, showering the film, why aren’t you?” “Alright, that’s a good point.”

ZOE KAZAN: I feel like Barry approaches his work really like an artist. I’ve never worked with a producer like Barry before. He’s so detail-oriented and I never feel like he clocks in or clocks out…Every element of this film has Barry’s touch on it. It’s incredibly rare and I think that’s why not just with Judd but with so many of the filmmakers he’s worked with, those films have come out so beautifully.

MS: Bringing in each actor, we did ten more rewrites. Everyone brought a different thing to the process, what was most important to them, the comedy or the drama, any number of things. We were figuring out what were the act breaks, the plot points, those classic milestones in a movie that guide the audience through the story…I look at it mathematically, so the movie in my brain is broken up into specific sequences and parts that are all part of a larger machine: the finished product.”

EVG: Your life doesn’t break out into a three-act structure… We were all figuring out what the movie was. It wasn’t like Judd knew, “This is what the movie is, and I will slowly knead it out for you”… There’s the story of a struggling comedian, there’s a story of an illness, there’s a story of someone with their own parents, someone with someone else’s parents, and figuring out which version of that story to tell was something we all just kind of gradually worked on together.

Kumail Nanjiani, Emily V. Gordon'The Big Sick' film premiere, Arrivals, New York, USA - 20 Jun 2017

Nanjiani and Gordon at ‘The Big Sick’ premiere.


KN: There’s a scene where I have a breakdown on stage and that wasn’t scripted. It was always planned that I would just try and be in that place I was and just talk, so that was super tough, ‘cause it was very long and you’re forced to think about and say stuff that your whole body is wired to not think about or say.

EVG: When Kumail goes to Emily’s welcome home party and makes this big romantic pitch for her to come back to him…The audience is very aware that Emily is not thinking about a Prince Charming. She’s been through a very emotionally-intense experience, and this is just not where her head’s at. I think that’s something that we wanted to make sure that we conveyed, that Emily isn’t just going to wake up from a coma and be like, “I can’t wait to be in love!” It was also very important to us that Emily’s mother, Beth [Holly Hunter], never say to Emily, “You should go back with him, he’s a good guy,” because her daughter was just in a coma! She doesn’t really care if her daughter is in a relationship or not at this point…We’re focused on the fact that Emily has been through a lot and this isn’t just Kumail’s story, it’s also her story as well.

Eric Kohn and Anne Thompson contributed to this report.

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on October 20, 2017 07:09 PM tagged with The Big Sick

With Harvey Weinstein gone, the entertainment industry operates under a new ruler: The gut check. He’s now a punching bag to represent abuse by powerful men, but now the real work begins. What about everyone else?

“Harvey is aberrant, to be sure, but no anomaly,” veteran screenwriter and USC professor Howard Rodman wrote me in an email. “He’s a rapist, but not the only rapist in our industry, and not the only serial predator by a very long shot.  If we use his evident and overweening guilt to exculpate the rest of us, this will be for naught. What’s needed is a sea change. And maybe — just maybe — its time has come.”

Weinstein’s predation has a very, very long tail; new stories arrive daily, with the Los Angeles Police Dept. now opening an investigation into an alleged rape in 2013. “It’s been such crazy couple of weeks,” producer Christine Vachon told my UCLA Extension film class this week. “I’m sure everybody is faced with a little bit of sleaze fatigue, every day another horrible story, and it’s stunning.”

Read More:Lupita Nyong’o: Harvey Weinstein Tried to Massage Me in His Bedroom

It’s a scandal unlike anything Hollywood has seen, but — when this story broke, already Harvey was no longer a macher. Now his power has been stripped and he’s not a potential employer, or political donor, or celebrity wrangler, or ad buyer. “The reason the whistle was blown on him was he wasn’t so powerful,” Vachon said. “Finally it was safe to come forward.”

Quentin Tarantino and Harvey Weinstein

Quentin Tarantino and Harvey Weinstein

Picture Perfect/REX/Shutterstock

So what does that mean for those who are still very much in power? “The same five white men are still in charge of everything,” said one white agent who represents important actors and filmmakers. Or as screenwriter Scott Rosenberg pointed out in his viral tone poem of a Facebook post:

So, yeah, I was there.
And let me tell you one thing.
Let’s be perfectly clear about one thing:


Nevertheless, the industry is putting a lot of effort into making statements that suggest that change is coming. The expulsion of Weinstein from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences on October 14 included a statement: “The Board continues to work to establish ethical standards of conduct that all Academy members will be expected to exemplify.” Two days later, AMPAS president John Bailey underlined that sentiment with an email to the membership that paralleled the courage of victims who spoke out with Maria Falconetti’s brave performance in Carl Dreyer’s 1928 film “The Passion of Joan of Arc.”

Since the decision of the Academy’s Board of Governors on Saturday October 14 to expel producer Harvey Weinstein from its membership, I have been haunted not only by the recurring image of Falconetti and the sad arc of her career (dying in Argentina in 1946, reputedly from a crash diet) but of Joan’s refusal to submit to an auto de fe recantation of her beliefs.

Recent public testimonies by some of filmdom’s most recognized women regarding sexual intimidation, predation, and physical force is, clearly, a turning point in the film industry — and hopefully in our country, where what happens in the world of movies becomes a marker of societal Zeitgeist. Their decision to stand up against a powerful, abusive male not only parallels the cinema courage of Falconetti’s Joan but gives all women courage to speak up.


It is up to all of us Academy members to more clearly define for ourselves the parameters of proper conduct, of sexual equality, and respect for our fellow artists throughout our industry. The Academy cannot, and will not, be an inquisitorial court, but we can be part of a larger initiative to define standards of behavior, and to support the vulnerable women and men who may be at personal and career risk because of violations of ethical standards by their peers.

Read More:Harvey Weinstein Officially Resigns from The Weinstein Company Board

Similarly, the Producers Guild of America began proceedings to remove Weinstein’s membership, and announced an Anti-Sexual Harassment Task Force “specifically charged with researching and proposing substantive and effective solutions to sexual harassment in the entertainment industry. The PGA calls on leaders throughout the entertainment community to work together to ensure that sexual abuse and harassment are eradicated from the industry.”

Kathleen Kennedy and Dawn Hudson.

And in her keynote address at the October 16 Elle Women in Hollywood event, Lucasfilm CEO Kathleen Kennedy — an Academy governor and PGA member — attacked the industry’s sexist ways and proposed an industry-wide commission to develop a secure system to report abusive behavior, and a zero-tolerance policy for those who abuse.

There has been change in Hollywood — if at a glacial pace. In 1961, Rodman’s mother was not only a single working mom; she graduated from NYU film school “when no women went to film school,” Rodman wrote. “When she graduated she wanted to be a director, but what even was an American female director in 1961 — Ida Lupino? Maya Deren?”

Even being an assistant director was not an option; “there was already one female AD in New York, so that slot was taken,” he wrote. “(No one imagined there’d ever be a need for a second one.)” So she became a script supervisor — the production job women could hold.

“Most of the time she was the only woman in a room full of 50-60 men,” he wrote. “Can you imagine the daily navigation? This one you must never flirt with. This one you have to flirt with if you want to get anything out of him. This one is incompetent so you have to do his job without ever letting on that he’s not doing it himself.”

Of course, that’s no longer the case; while women still struggle for equity as directors, no one startles to see a female AD. “I have to believe that if this could happen below the line, we can do it above the line too, and yes, in our lifetime,” he wrote. “It’s of the essence.”

writer/director Robin Swicord

Writer-director Robin Swicord

Daniel Bergeron

Director and Oscar-nominated screenwriter Robin Swicord (“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”) is another industry veteran who’s witnessed and experienced sexual harassment, and she’s well aware that there’s more where Harvey came from. “Harvey represents the most egregious example of a predator thriving among us,” she wrote in an email. “Yet there are other powerful men in the business, still unnamed publicly, who are guilty of similar behavior.”

Harassment and discrimination are ordinary, she said; so is blackballing for those who speak against it. “It is not safe (in fact, career-ending) to be the lone voice speaking out,” she wrote. “The collective ‘boys club’ ethos that’s embedded in our profession would have created an instant backlash against any of these women if they had gone public with their assault: ‘She’s crazy,’ ‘She’s just trying to blackmail him and get a settlement,’ ‘It’s sour grapes,’ ‘A woman spurned, uh oh, watch out, she could turn on you.’ We have been part of the culture of silence that has allowed bad behavior to continue, uncorrected.”

This is why social media marks a crucial sea-change that made it possible for single, vulnerable women to feel part of a collective of strong women who feel supported and heard. As Oscar-winning director Kathryn Bigelow emailed the New York Times: “The democratization of the spread of information can finally move faster than a powerful media mogul’s attempts to bury it.”

on October 20, 2017 07:01 PM tagged with Roy Price

Asia Argento is leaving Italy and moving to Germany after receiving backlash from the Italian press over her rape allegation toward Harvey Weinstein. Argento went on the record with her story in an article from The New Yorker published on October 10, in which she described an encounter with Weinstein that ended with him performing forced oral sex on her.

“He terrified me, and he was so big,” she told The New Yorker. “It wouldn’t stop. It was a nightmare.” The actress admitted that she let Weinstein continue just so that the encounter could end since she was incapable of defending herself.

Read More:Harvey Weinstein Accused of Rape By Asia Argento and Two Other Women

In the wake of Argento’s allegations, the Italian press have condemned the actress’ behavior, Quartz reports. Journalist Mario Adinolfi tweeted that Argento’s claims were “trying to justify high-society prostitution,” while Vittorio Feltri, the editor-in-chief of right-wing publication Libero, said in a radio interview that Argento must be lying since the sex had to have been consensual because the actress wasn’t violently harmed. Opinion writer Renato Farina wrote Agrento “first [gave] it away, then [whined] and [faked] regret.”

Even women have been criticizing Argento online. Writer Selvaggia Lucarelli published a Facebook post commenting on the Weinstein scandal, which she feels is a missed opportunity “to speak about reprehensible male habits, but also of women who put up with them.” Argento ended up having a consensual relationship with Weinstein after her alleged rape.

Argento told The New Yorker she was 21 when Weinstein’s producers invited her to a Miramax party at the Hôtel du Cap-Eden-Roc on the French Riviera. She attended the event, only to find out there was no party and she was left in a hotel room with only Weinstein in a bathrobe holding a bottle of lotion. He allegedly requested a massage and lifted up her skirt.

“The thing with being a victim is I felt responsible,” she said. “Because if I were a strong woman, I would have kicked him in the balls and run away. But I didn’t. And so I felt responsible.”

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on October 20, 2017 06:47 PM tagged with Harvey Weinstein

Earlier this year I worked a bit with our logo to propose a small change to it – first change to the logo in 5 years. The team approved, but for various reasons the new logo did not make it to 17.10. Now we’re ready to push it out to the world.

For the last five years, we’ve served two versions of the logo – one for small rendered sizes and one for larger sizes – because the whiskers needed to look good in all sizes. This has been slightly confusing for people who want to use the Xubuntu logo outside the material curated by the Xubuntu team. To be honest, the team itself has been a bit confused at times too and sometimes special arrangements have been made.

The new logo solves this problem – there is now one version for all sizes. While fixing this small annoyance (by essentially making the weight of the whiskers something in between the old versions), I improved their shape and distance to the head a little bit. Finally, I cleaned up some path nodes to make the head vector slightly less complex – without changing the looks of it too much.

Xubuntu logo icon (from left): Version for large sizes (2012), updated version from 2017, version for small sizes (2012)

I will be working to get the logo spread out everywhere as soon as possible starting from now. If you are using the Xubuntu logo on your website (or any place really), take action now to update it.

The new logo is already available from the Brand Resources page on the Xubuntu website.

on October 20, 2017 06:41 PM
 Google’s push to make the web more secure by flagging sites using insecure HTTP connections appears to be working. The company announced today that 64 percent of Chrome traffic on Android is now protected, up 42 percent from a year ago. In addition, over 75 percent of Chrome traffic on both ChromeOS and Mac is now protected, up from 60 percent on Mac and 67 percent on ChromeOS a year ago. Read More
on October 20, 2017 06:40 PM tagged with HTTPS
 Fair.com — an all-digital car marketplace that was co-founded by car industry vets Georg Bauer of BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Tesla; Scott Painter of TrueCar; and Fedor Artiles of Mercedes-Benz, Chrysler, Volkswagen, and Tesla — has been largely operating under the radar since quietly launching its business earlier this year. But today, it’s coming roaring down the street,… Read More
on October 20, 2017 06:26 PM tagged with TC


Dancer Angelnae Randalle’s Passion and Persistence

To learn more about Angelnae, follow @angel_dancer_1 on Instagram.

“The more the better.” This is Angelnae Randalle’s (@angel_dancer_1) stance when it comes to practice. On average, the 14-year-old, who currently lives in Michigan, rehearses 24 to 30 hours a week — and that number only goes up when a competition or convention is on the horizon. You might be surprised to learn that Angelnae started dancing just three years ago; her grandmother signed her up for her first class and passed away shortly thereafter. “She was my biggest supporter,” says Angelnae. “I think she is very proud of me.”

on October 20, 2017 06:25 PM tagged with instagram

[Editors Note: This article is presented in partnership with Netflix’s original film “Wheelman”– now streaming exclusively on Netflix.]

Frank Grillo is the kind of guy you would trust with your life — or at least he seems like it.

The 52-year-old New York City native has cultivated a career out of playing someone you’d want in your corner — a small-town police chief, a commanding officer in the Army, and even a Marvel super villain — on screens both big and small. (For what it’s worth, his character in “Purge 3: Election Year” also passionately dedicated his life to protecting the first female president. Do with that what you will.)

But the secret to Grillo’s success goes beyond mastering the tough-guy-with-a-heart-of-gold act. There’s an authentic vulnerability to the characters he brings to life on screen, most recently MMA fighter-turned-trainer Alvey Kulina in the critically acclaimed DirecTV drama “Kingdom,” which concluded its four-season run earlier this year.

Grillo’s next project — the action-thriller “Wheelman,” coming to Netflix on Friday, Oct. 20 — finds the actor merging these talents, so to speak, playing a getaway driver in a bank heist gone horribly wrong. A man of few words (“I don’t chit-chat unless it’s about the job”), Grillo’s nameless character is forced into an impossible juggling act of dodging the cops, unraveling a deadly conspiracy and, time permitting, mending fences with his ex-wife through a series of explosive voicemails. (Seriously, when Grillo starts hurling F-bombs, you’d better duck and cover. Those things pack a punch.)

Physicality has never proven a challenge for Grillo, who cut his teeth on TV shows like “Prison Break” and “The Shield,” as well as films like “Minority Report” and “Captain America: The Winter Soldier.” So it’s no surprise that while his “Wheelman” character’s hellish ordeal refuses to slow down until it arrives at a screeching halt in the film’s final moments, Grillo maintains a confident ease behind the wheel.

Projecting an air of intimidation while remaining seated is also no small feat, but you wouldn’t realize that by watching Grillo, who rarely hesitates to assert his authority despite spending most of “Wheelman” with his buns firmly planted in the driver’s seat. (You know, when he isn’t reaching to grab his rifle from the back of the car.) Of course, that’s not to say Grillo’s character doesn’t panic; if you focus on his eyes during the film’s most intense moments, you’ll see flickers of your own fear reflected back at you.

Throughout the driver’s harrowing 82-minute experience, the only person he knows he can trust is his 13-year-old daughter (played by Caitlin Carmichael), who finds herself unwittingly mixed up in her father’s shady predicaments. She’s constantly in need of comfort and reassurance — as is the audience, frankly — and it’s in these father-daughter moments that Grillo shows off his emotional range, the type of powerful performance you might attribute to the actor being a father of three in real life.

If you’ll permit a few more puns, Wheelman is the ideal vehicle for a leading man like Grillo, who does virtually all the heavy lifting in writer-director Jeremy Rush’s film. It’s a performance that grips the viewer so tight, escape is virtually impossible — though we have a feeling you’ll want to remain strapped in until this ride comes to a complete stop.

on October 20, 2017 06:01 PM tagged with Wheelman Custom Editorial

This post is from Chrome Story - Chrome, Chromebooks and Chromecast

The Android version of Chrome has been prepping to become an offline friendly browser for some time now. You can download pages for offline viewing. These offline pages are now available from the New Tab Page as well. The latest version Chrome Canary version on Android has two new flags to take this further.

Enable Offline Bookmarks

Here is the description from the chrome://flags page:

Enable offline bookmarks

Enable saving bookmarked pages for offline viewing. – Android


I enabled this flag, restart Chrome and checked my Downloads section (which now has a dropdown to easily sort through downloads) and I could not find any bookmarks downloaded. May be I am supposed to do something from Settings? This is an experimental flag, and things like these are expected. Hopefully we will see this working soon!

Enables offline pages to be shared

This second flag is even more interesting. Looks like you will soon be able to share these downloaded offline pages. In situations and locations where bandwidth is limited or connections are slow, this will be a handy feature to have. People can download a page and share it using other methods, without an internet connection. Here is the description of the flag:

Enables offline pages to be shared.

Enables the saved offline pages to be shared via other applications. – Android


I am not quite sure if this feature is new. I could get a share menu for offline pages even when this flag was disabled. May be Google is working on a newer version of this share? We will have to wait and watch!

Thoughts? Comments?

on October 20, 2017 05:53 PM tagged with Google Chrome
 Business is looking for good for subscription-based tech news site The Information. This summer it announced plans for an accelerator program to encourage others to leap into paid media and today, at its summit event, it revealed the five successful applicants in batch one as well as its own hiring plans. The accelerator has a pretty diverse bunch which cover subjects that include tech —… Read More
on October 20, 2017 05:50 PM tagged with TC
 Stadium Goods, the online (and brick and mortar) marketplace for highly sought after sneakers and streetwear, is launching its first app. Live today to coincide with the startup’s two year anniversary, the first iteration of the app is basically just a mobile marketplace. But Stadium Goods plans to eventually build out this functionality and take advantage of location services and… Read More
on October 20, 2017 05:39 PM tagged with commerce

The key to a successful project is good communication.  Honesty and directness about timelines and scopes of work go a long way to relieve pressure from the development team and avoid frustration from stakeholders, but what about the day-to-day information exchanged between developers, designers, and project managers? This is the grease that keeps the project running smoothly and should not be overlooked.

As teams vary in size, so do the roles and responsibilities of individual team members.  Smaller teams have fewer communication channels, so you may need to switch between your developer hat and project manager hat frequently.  On larger teams your hat rack may be quite sparse, but the number of communication channels, and thus the possibility of miscommunication, is far greater.

Regardless of the size of your team, information about the project must be communicated and documented effectively.  From very large teams to projects where it's just me, I've learned how damaging even minor miscommunication can be.  Conversely, you look like a hero when you get it right.  Stakeholders, project managers, and developers work in very different realms. In this article I'll discuss a few overarching principles that I've learned to help navigate the monsoon of information blustering through a project.  They will help you regain control of your time and create a more productive and successful project.

What is Communication?

Existentialism aside, what do we really mean when we talk about communication?  Communication is an exchange of information between parties.  The parties may be people, but they may also be project management tools.  From video conferences to GitHub notifications, these are all part of the project communication landscape and require different levels of attention.

Forms of Communication

Here are some of the most common methods of communication I've dealt with on projects:

  • In-Person Meetings
  • Voice conference
  • Video conference
  • Chat
  • Text message
  • Direct Email
  • Email Notifications
  • Project Management Tools
  • RSS Feeds
  • Twitter
  • Mobile Notifications

All these types of communication serve a unique role. We wouldn't use them if they weren't helpful, but the question we really should be asking is, "are they necessary?"  Gone unchecked, many of these tools can overrun each other and tangle the workflow.

For example, Slack is a great tool for team members to quickly exchange information between each other, but numerous tools can also post updates into Slack.  A few may be helpful, but too many can dilute the conversation and the effectiveness of the tool.  So how do you find the balance between effective and over-communication?  We can start by categorizing these forms of communication into two groups: active and passive.

Active vs Passive Communication

I find it helpful to group all communication into two categories: active and passive.

Active communication is a two way street.  The sender is expecting a direct response.  Google hangouts, Slack discussions, and phone calls are all forms of active communication.  There is an immediate reciprocation between the parties involved.  You wouldn't invite someone to a conversation just to read them the backlog of tickets, would you?

Passive communication, on the other hand, does not require a direct reply.  This is not as easily definable as active communication.  Let's take a look at email as an example.

If Stakeholder Sarah emails you a question about the next deadline, that is active communication.  She is expecting a response from you in a timely manner.  When a Github notification shows up in your inbox informing you that your pull request has been merged, no follow up is required.  This is passive.  Now, if you receive an email from Jira Notifications because the client asked a question on one of your tickets, which category does that fall under?  It's a notification email, so you shouldn't respond to it directly, but the client is expecting an answer.  Ultimately it depends on the ground rules for communication you set for your project.

Setting Expectations

I tend to follow this order of urgency for response, from most urgent to least.  It's important to agree on a set of communication guidelines at the beginning of a project so everyone on the team follows the same expectations.

  1. Live Communication If you ask me a question face-to-face, of course I will respond to you right away.
  2. Chat Chances are that unless I've set my away message, I'm receiving chat messages in real time.  However, I might be neck-deep in some code or preoccupied in another conversation, so I will respond as soon as I can, but maybe not be right away. 
  3. Mentions in Comments Comments in Jira tickets or GitHub pull requests will likely go unread even if they show up in my inbox unless I am specifically mentioned in them.  I get a lot.  The convention to use the @ symbol to mention another person links their account in the ticket and generates more specific notifications for that person.  It the difference between saying something needs to be done and asking someone to do something about it.
  4. Email I use a couple of email addresses to keep my interests separate so I use an email client to aggregate them into one management space.  However, I find constant email notifications and alerts distracting, so I don't keep my email client open when I don't need to (more on this later).  If you email me, I will probably get back to you within the day, but don't rely on me standing by my inbox waiting to reply to you.  This rule is so important to us that we actually wrote it into the Lullabot Employee Handbook along with a few other tips.
  5. Unmentioned Comments I will likely still get email notifications about activity on repositories, projects or tickets I'm watching or otherwise related to, but if you don't mention me in the comment, it will disappear into tornado of notifications and chances are I won't see it unless I'm reading the backscroll on the ticket.

These are just my rules, but they have worked well for me so far.

Understanding the communication landscape of your project is a necessary foundation.  Setting the proper expectations will prevent miscommunication and keep the project running smoothly.  So far we've identified some of the most common pitfalls and laid the groundwork for a fluid project.  In the next two articles of the series I'll provide advice for managers and stakeholders on how to communicate effectively with the development team and also offer some recommendations and tricks for handling the number one offender when it comes to communication overload: email.

on October 20, 2017 05:32 PM
 Chariot, the commuter shuttle bus network that Ford Smart Mobility acquired in 2016, has halted its services in San Francisco, the San Francisco Business Times first reported. On Wednesday, the California Public Utilities Commission suspended Chariot’s operating permit after the service didn’t pass three consecutive California Highway Patrol inspections. Read More
on October 20, 2017 05:13 PM tagged with Ford Mobility Solutions

“The distributed ledger and the homomorphic encryption are sort of critical technologies for realizing the vision of a DAO of AIs”: AI visionary Ben Goertzel.

Cointelegraph talks with AI visionary Ben Goertzel, who shares with us his vision of the future of AI and computing, while also offering insights on how to guide an “artificial general intelligence” toward good, rather than evil.

A US author and researcher in the field of artificial intelligence, Goertzel is chairman of the Artificial General Intelligence Society and the OpenCog Foundation, Vice Chairman of futurist nonprofit Humanity+, founder and CEO of SingularityNet, and chief scientist at Hanson Robotics. He has been working for years, along with a team of dozens researchers scattered around the globe, to create the world's first AI marketplace powered by Blockchain technologies.

From AI to AGI

BG: I began my career as a mathematics Ph.D. in the 1980s. I was an academic for awhile, then I entered industry in the late 90’s and I’ve been doing artificial intelligence applications in sort of every industry you can imagine from genetics, bioinformatics, and natural language processing. Some national security stuff with the US government, computer graphics, vision processing.

Six years ago I moved to Hong Kong and I began working with my friend David Hanson on application of AI to humanoid robotics. He has what’s the world’s most realistic humanoid robots, with beautiful facial expressions and emotional expression. He wanted the robots to be intelligent as well as looking good, and of course that’s a big research goal. We’re still working on it, but it’s a fascinating challenge.

That seemed like one route to realizing my main research goal in AI, which was really transitioning from narrow AIs or AIs that do highly specific tasks, to what I thought of as AGI or artificial general intelligence.

I coined that term in 2002 or 2003, and I’ve organized each year a conference on AGI, artificial general intelligence, and in the last decade we’ve seen the concept grow and flourish quite a lot, just as we’ve seen AI flourish in every different area.

Sophia robot

One of the things we realized in developing the Sophia robot and developing our AI technology, was that to take the next big leap in AI functionality, we want to build what we’ve been thinking of as a massive globally distributed AI mindcloud.

We want a decentralized network of AIs, each AI carrying out its own particular function, and different AIs in the decentralized network all communicating with each other and sharing data with each other and giving tasks to each other and doing work for each other.

DAO of AIs

In order to build this decentralized network of AIs that share information with each other and ask each other to do things for each other, the Blockchain emerged as an appropriate platform.

So really we started out with wanting to build in essence a DAO of AIs, although we didn’t call it that initially because the phraseology of a DAO is just a few years old.

My first AI company I started in 1998, which lived for only three years from 1998 to 2001. That was called Webmind and it was based in New York. This was the first dot com boom. We were based in Silicon Alley in New York City, and what we wanted to build there was in essence what you would now call a DAO of AIs.

We wanted to build a network that would let people put up AIs anywhere on the planet. All these different AIs in the network would talk to each other and share information, and the collective intelligence of this whole network of AIs would exceed the intelligence by far of any one AI in the network. You need a lot of supporting technology to make that work.

Having a distributed ledger is very valuable because then the different AIs can keep track of what transactions have happened all around the network, without the need for a central controller.

Homomorphic encryption and related technologies are very valuable because some AIs have data they want to share with other AIs only in certain aspects and certain ways. The distributed ledger and the homomorphic encryption are sort of critical technologies for realizing this vision of a DAO of AIs.

One thing we realized recently was that introducing our own token could also be a valuable ingredient in the mix, because the different AIs in this DAO may be owned by different people, I mean ultimately they will be owned by themselves, and they want to exchange value along with exchanging data and requests for work. So then having a token that’s customized for the AIs to use to exchange value among each other can be valuable also.

You can then introduce different states to that token, and you can sort of customize with economic logic for the economy of AIs. So this is a perspective on what we are building with the SingularityNet, from my point of view as an AI developer. If you look at it from a business point of view, then it becomes different and in some ways simpler.

Because businesses all over the world now want to use machine learning as a service, and AI as a service, because only a few big tech companies can really afford to hire an army of AI developers themselves.

AI as a service

What most companies in the AI space want is to be able to use AI to perform certain tasks within their business’ operations, and they want to be able to request AI services from cloud providers.

That could be to figure out who to market a certain product to from among their customers, it could be to optimize their supply chain, it could be to detect fraud in their transaction database. Many, many different functions can be improved by AI now and so there’s an increasing set of providers of AI as a service.

You have big companies like IBM with BlueMix, and Amazon and Google Cloud offer AI APIs as part of users of AWS, or Google Cloud, but what big companies offer or what startups now offer in terms of AI as a service is expensive, and often requires awkward subscription plans where you have to buy into a large amount of services you might not need.

Also, the collection of AI functions offered commercially as a service is a small percentage of the AI that is out there as open source code in Github, so there’s a thousand times more AI function out there in open source code than there is wrapped up to offer as a service.

But most people can’t utilize all this because it’s a pain.

If someone has put some open source code in a Github repo, you download it, you try to get it to build on your Linux distribution. Then you go through the readme and figure out what it does, then you figure out how to connect it to your company’s IT system, and most people don’t have that kind of expertise.

From that point of view, what we can do with SingularityNet is we are creating a platform where a lot more AI tools can be wrapped up and then provided to any business who wants to use them, via our AI as a service API.

Sharing codes

You can look at it from the point of view of a customer and the AI developers. So, from the AI developers’ point of view, if you develop some funky kind of AI widget and you put it on Github, it’s not much work to put it in a Docker container, put it on a server, and wrap it in the SingularityNet API, which is very simple. Then your AI code sitting in that container can be found by our discovery mechanism because you’ve told our master node that it’s there, and then instead of just having your code in Github for geeks to download and work with, you put it online and wrap it in the API in a way that anyone can use it who finds it, by the SingularityNet discovery mechanism. Then you can get compensated in our token for people who have used your code and used its services.

CT: Is that the only incentive?

DG: Well, there’s a lot of incentives. Why do people put their code in Github right now? They just put it because they want to contribute it to the world, right?

CT: Yeah, right. So it’s rather moral incentives that work?

DG: It’s a combination right, because if you give people the ability to monetize their open source code that’s even better because look, what happens now many people will put their code online on Github just to contribute to the community.

On the other hand, many of them now also start AI startups wrapped around the code, and they fork the code and make it proprietary then their startup is bought up by a big company three years later, then that developer winds up an employee of a big company which may not have been the life plan they wanted.

But they made a startup, they got VC money and then acquisition exit strategy is sort of the norm now, right? So in a way the startup ecosystem serves as a recruiting mechanism to suck young guys who didn’t want to work for big companies into doing it after all. And then they may quit after a while and start a new company.

But something like the SingularityNet can provide a new way for people to monetize their AI without having to sell out to a big company. Because if you had a global decentralized network and you can put your AI there and anyone can access it and then use it in a way that connects it with other AI tools that are out there. That can provide a way for people to monetize what they’ve done, without having to go the currently standard route of creating a startup and selling the startup to Google or Amazon or something. Then the subtler aspect of it is it’s actually more than just sort of a cloud-based app store for AIs, because the different AI tools that are now sitting in Github are not configured to talk to each other and work together with each other.

Subnetworks and learning

Now when you build an application as an application developer, you’re connecting AIs together in this sort of bespoke way to work for your application. So for the Sophia robot, we’re using a lot of tools from opencv for computer vision processing, we’re using other people’s deep neural nets for recognizing faces and objects. We’re using Google Voice for speech processing. We’re using another company’s tool for text to speech. We’re using our own AI tools for memory and learning and personality, then we’re connecting dozens of different AI tools in the specific architecture to control the robot.

We can do that because we know fairly well what we’re doing. What we’d like to create, is a platform in which AI tools can connect with each other in an automated or at least semi-automated way where, for example, if you need a document summarized, as a user you can put a request into the SingularityNet saying “Hey, I need a document summarized.”

You may get bids from twenty different document summary nodes and you can look at the reputations that each one has, and you may choose one with the right balance of reputation and price, and then that node will provide you with a summary of documents that you feed to it.

But now that document summary node if it hits something in the document it can’t deal with, it can outsource that to another node. So suppose the document summary node that you’re paying to summarize your documents hits an embedded video. Wel,l it can outsource that to a video summarizing node and it can then pay it some fraction of the money it was paid. Or, if it sees a quote in Russian, maybe it doesn’t know Russian, it can outsource that on a microservices basis to a Russian to English translation node that can do that translation, then send it back to the document summary node.

So you can have the formation of federations or subnetworks of AI nodes, and there’s learning that can happen there, because if this document summary node learns that for a certain type of video it should go to this video analysis node, then that’s learning on the level of the connections between the two different AI nodes. In a way, that’s analogous to the learning that the brain does, where if you have two neurons, if they’re often useful together the connection between them is reinforced, which is long-term potentiation or hebbian learning, so in our case you have learning within each AI node.

If it’s a machine learning process, but you also have learning on the level of the connections between the AI nodes, that’s learning on the whole network level, which is interesting.

Now the Blockchain here is sort of part of the plumbing of the network, right, but that plumbing is valuable, because the lack of that sort of layer is part of what made it hard for us to build this sort of thing in the late 1990s when we were first trying.

There was no homomorphic encryption then, and if you wanted to make your own token for payment, there was no cryptographic mechanism to make that reasonably efficient. Having that plumbing there is valuable, just like having GPUs now is valuable for doing distributed vision processing. So now we have a whole assemblage of infrastructure technologies that make it possible to build this as a sort of upper layer on top of the infrastructure.

CT: Yeah, but the obvious question would be: couldn’t we end up with AI controlling the whole process?

DG: Well that’s the goal.

CT: For it’s own purpose that we don’t know, that we’re not aware of.

DG: Well, it’s hard to know what direction the evolution of AI is going to go. I think in the long term, which may just mean a few decades from now, I think AIs will have a much greater intelligence than human beings.

CT: So it sounds like a Sci Fi thing?

DG: I mean if we go in the science fiction direction, I think that in a few decades from now, humans will have two choices. One is just bring computer interfacing or mind uploading, merge your brain with the AI mind matrix, or two -  just live happily in the people zoo with the other zoo animals.

I mean that’s logically speaking, those are the options that probably exist now. In the interim before we get there though, there’s a lot of interesting things that can happen.

I tend to think the odds of a good outcome are better if AI is developed in a more democratic way, so everyone can contribute and everyone can benefit.

I don’t like the dynamic I see where an AI is sucked up more and more into a few big governments and big corporations.

CT: Yeah, also, defense.

DG: Yeah, so you have defense, so AI is developed to kill people, AI is developed to spy on people. Then you have Google, AI is developed to brainwash people into buying stuff they don’t need, which is basically advertising. These are all parts of human nature but they’re not all there is to human nature. There are a lot of other applications for AI that get much less resources because the profitability aspect is more difficult.

Next destination of outsourcing

For example, I said our AI team is based all over the world, though I’m personally based mostly in Hong Kong and actually our biggest AI office is Ethiopia in Addis Ababa. We have 25 or 30 AI developers and a few dozen interns there, it’s a low cost development center. The universities there are pretty good, so we can hire good young graduates.

Africa will be the next destination for outsourcing I think, because Asia and Europe are already expensive. But spending time in Africa, you see so many needs for AI technology.

We’re developing an application there that, from an image of a leaf of a plant it identifies early stages of crop disease. We’re developing tools that help teach rural children who don’t have good education, so AI tutoring systems.

But this sort of beneficial AI application doesn’t get much money compared to killing, spying, or advertising because there’s not as much money in it.

However, if you have a more decentralized platform for AI development, then developers there can fully participate and users there can use tools in the AI Mindcloud in the SingularityNet. It doesn’t have to go through the profit center of a big company.

So you could have a developer in Uzbekistan upload an AI node doing machine learning, and then a user in Ethiopia could use that node to identify crop disease in a leaf. They may pay the developer in Uzbekistan something for that through the SingularityNet’s token exchange mechanisms, and that exchange can happen, whether or not there is enough profitability in that application for it to be interesting to IBM or Google.

By routing all AI through military and big government or big companies, what that means is the long tail of AI applications which don’t have that much profit associated with them, and the long tail of AI tools which may only be good for a certain niche of things, these are left out of the current way of doing things.

In the more decentralized approach, you can have more participation by developers and users all over the world, and I think that in essence will make it more likely that as AI gets smarter and smarter and smarter, things will go in a positive direction.

We can’t have any guarantee, but as messy as it is I would rather have the human race as a whole participating in the growth of AGI, than have it just be like the US and Chinese army and Google and Baidu or something, not that those are bad people. Google is run by good-hearted people but they have the one goal of maximizing shareholder value.

It just happens that by having this broader-based decentralized set of AI mechanisms, it happens that that’s also probably the best way to lead to the emergence of advanced levels of general intelligence.

You have a sort of political and benefit-oriented motive, and you have a research-oriented motive, and they seem to fit together. Because for both of those you want this sort of diverse and flexible decentralized breeding ground of intelligence.

CT: Have your tokens got a way to incentivize the right thing? Not the AI using it for its own purposes or someone to control the whole thing. What kind of mechanism do you use?

DG: We have a democratic governance mechanism built in where the token holders vote on matters that pertain to the dynamics of the whole network.

CT: Is there a mechanism to prevent anyone from controlling the bulk of it?

DG: Well democracy is risky in that sense. We do have a reserve of tokens which are reserved for beneficial uses, and then the decision of what’s a beneficial use is made democratically. I think in the end either you have a democracy or a dictatorship.

In the beginning it will be more of a dictatorship, because the founders own a lot of tokens. Just as Ethereum in a way is a benevolent dictatorship of Vitalik. In the beginning the founders own a lot of tokens, so the democratic mechanism in essence will be dominated by the founders and founding organizations, but as the system develops, the democracy will be more and more about whoever owns tokens gets to vote.

on October 20, 2017 05:06 PM tagged with Marketplace

Ron Perlman fans know he doesn’t shy away from speaking his mind on social media. And lately, he has focused that ire on the assault on democracy coming out of Washington.

“We’re in a very dangerous, very degraded moment in time where the values that everybody who came before us fought and died for are all being tromped upon,” Perlman said. “For no good end except power and greed.”

Perlman has been joking online about his own run for president: Perl2020. But what he’s really trying to do is hammer home the gravity of the situation: “If we don’t get our shit together quickly, we’re in danger of ending our days,” he told IndieWire. “I feel it’s that serious.”

Perlman is back on TV via the streaming service Crackle, and its drama “StartUp,” which recently returned for Season 2. The actor/producer dropped by IndieWire’s “Turn It On” recently to discuss his latest gig, as well as how he’s at peace with the end of his time as “Hellboy,” after a third movie didn’t happen. Listen below!

Perlman wasn’t looking to immediately get back to work after his last series, Amazon’s “Hand of God,” was canceled. “I was doing nothing but eating pizza and ice cream and I was 30 pounds overweight — and this script shows up,” he said.

But the title, at first, didn’t grab him. “When I heard the name of the show, I took a short nap, I was that interested,” he quipped. “What could you possibly extract from this world that would make it entertainment worthy? Luckily the offer came with a couple of scripts. The writing was extraordinary. Really crisp, smart, dynamic.”



A bit of a cross between “Breaking Bad” and “Mr. Robot,” “StartUp” centers on an unlikely trio who run afoul of the FBI, gang leaders and the Russian mafia as they create a new darknet prototype. Stars include Adam Brody and Martin Freeman, and in season 2, Perlman joins the cast as a millionaire tech guru with a dark edge.

“He was one of the original pirates,” Perlman said of his character, who made his fortune during the original dot.com boom. “The stakes are as high as they are because the potential for what the dark net can do… the dark net is whats responsible for the guy who sits in our White House now.”

Ah yes, Donald Trump. Perlman said he hasn’t been blocked on Twitter by the president — yet. “I’m not sure if I’m proud of that or sad,” he said of that. “I’m at this point where if you don’t take a stand in this moment in time, I don’t give a shit if you’re famous or just an average guy. My running for president was a joke but with every given day… the outrage I’m feeling about the assault over the rule of law [grows].”

One thing Perlman is indeed done talking about: “Hellboy.”

“It’s completely in my rearview mirror,” he said. “We fought a good fight to get the trilogy finished, that didn’t happen. I’m very happy with the world of creative choices now. No regrets.”

Beyond acting, Perlman is also busy growing his production company: He’s a producer on “StartUp,” among other things. “We set out to be a little movie studio, as a homage to my favorite kind of storytelling — character driven, original ideas. Non-spandex, non high concept/low character studio movies. We’ve done seven films in three years, some of which are horrible, some of which are OK, and a couple of which I think are really good.”


Ron Perlman and Michael Schneider


IndieWire’s “TURN IT ON with Michael Schneider” is a weekly dive into what’s new and what’s now on TV — no matter what you’re watching or where you’re watching it. With an enormous amount of choices overwhelming even the most sophisticated viewer, “TURN IT ON” is a must-listen for TV fans looking to make sense of what to watch and where to watch it.

Be sure to subscribe to “TURN IT ON” on iTunes, Stitcher, Soundcloud or anywhere you download podcasts. New episodes post every week.

Below, the trailer for Season 2 of “StartUp.”

Sign UpStay on top of the latest TV news! Sign up for our TV email newsletter here.
on October 20, 2017 05:01 PM tagged with Turn It On
Nike Momofuku A year after acquiring Virgin Mega, Nike is revealing some of the early results of its experiments with augmented reality and community-building. Virgin Mega was a startup backed by Richard Branson’s Virgin Group that focused on fan communities and shopping. Ron Faris, who led the startup, told me that Nike acquired Virgin Mega in order to explore those same ideas. Since then, the team… Read More
on October 20, 2017 05:01 PM tagged with S23NYC
 The market for totally wireless earbuds is really maturing fast, with many entries from both new and established companies. Jaybird recently joined the crowd, with its own Run earbuds. The Logitech-owned company has long been a really solid competitor when it comes to Bluetooth headphones, and its Freedom and X-line, and in fact made some of the very first wireless sport earbuds that proved… Read More
on October 20, 2017 04:44 PM tagged with Bluetooth
We found deals on projecting alarm clocks, 4K TVs, laptops, and more!
on October 20, 2017 04:44 PM tagged with Gear
Investors, banks, and governments are all experimenting with blockchain technology inspired by Bitcoin.
on October 20, 2017 04:32 PM tagged with Business

Do you trust your VPN provider- A guide to avoiding bad VPN providers

If there’s anything the infamous Hillary Clinton email scandal teaches us is that how important cybersecurity is and how unaware general public is about it. She was investigated twice.

The reopening of that investigation just a few days before the Election Day was the sole reason for her loss to Donald Trump – despite having won the popular vote by over 3 million votes!

On the deep/dark web, hackers sell these for major profits – and buyers use these details to steal your identity and carry out financial transactions online on your behalf.

With so many threats lurking online, are you wondering – how do I secure my internet browsing? You might be interested in exploring VPN (Virtual Private Network).

Why sudden interest in VPN

As soon as he came to power, Donald Trump opened a much larger already-closed security loophole. He completely dismantled FCC’s internet privacy rules within the United States. It allowed Internet providers to freely spy on you and sell your usage data to third parties without your consent.

How to Avoid Bad VPN Providers

This alarmed millions of users, who had previously used internet nonchalantly. Internet searches for the term “Virtual Private Network” spiked overnight to 5-year high numbers.

Why use VPN when you have SSL

The Secure Socket Layer (SSL) transforms your good old but insecure communication channel into a secure block with the help of encryption within the HTTP protocol.

So it’s simple, right? You can use SSL and get your connection secured. Some might ask, why use VPN when you have SSL?

There are 2 reasons for it:

  1. SSL is implemented by the Website, not by you. If the website doesn’t offer an HTTPS connection, there’s nothing you can do about it.
  2. For implementing SSL security you need to buy an expensive “SSL CERTIFICATE”. Many websites do not consider free SSL certificatesreliable. Some websites, especially news sites, don’t consider SSL a priority because they don’t storeuser’s private data. As a result, SSL becomes either a setup overhead or an unnecessary expense.

If a website offers SSL security, it may not offer it for all the pages. So while you might see https on the login page, you won’t see it on any other page.

Google’s pushes for SSL by including it as one of its search engine ranking factors,but it hasn’t been able to expedite the SSL adoption rate.

Beware of a FAKE VPN

A simple Google search reveals a bunch of VPN services that are “free”. All are marketing articles meant to make a sale. Whether it’s an affiliate sale or a direct sale, you can never fully trust its claims.

When shopping for VPN, check for following red flags

  • Any kind of logging is bad. But some VPNs only log your email address. Ideally, the lesser the logging, the better VPN service
  • Highly convoluted or extremely short Privacy Policy
  • IP leaks
  • Lack of Kill Switch (this feature automatically stops certain apps from using the regular internet connection when the VPN connection drops!)
  • Latest news articles have negative reviews

What is a bad VPN?

Next time you are about to install a VPN client, scroll down their EULA dialog box and check if they log your data.

If they do, they may also be able to sell it without your consent by a simple tweak of the license agreement. Most of it happens in a clandestine manner without user’s consent.

Be wary of these VPNs

Other than logging, issues like download speed and customer support are also very important. Now we will list down a bunch of VPN services and what are their pros and cons.



How to Avoid Bad VPN Providers




StrongVPN doesn’t log any of your traffic or metadata (such as login/logout time, amount of data used, etc.). But that’s about the only pro we could find.

However, their cons onare aplenty:

  • Only 5-day money back policy.
  • Not all servers use OpenVPN
  • Desktop client UI is extremely frustrating – servers may not respond for the supported protocol. When trying to change ports or servers, it doesn’t remember the old configuration.
  • No call-in number, no live chat system, limited FAQs.
  • Relatively lower speeds as compared to competitors
  • Overpriced – limits to only two simultaneous connections.

StrongVPN is only suitable for users who are looking for a simple, cheap tool to bypass Netflix US and Chinese National censorships and for whom speeds don’t matter much. Power users should avoid StrongVPN.

Mullvad VPN





Mullvad provides a strong sense of privacy – you can use Mullvad through a random-generated account number and pay via bitcoins – no email address or credit card required! They also track absolutely nothing

But as we dug deep its problems started to appear:

  • Only 3-hour free trial
  • No money back policy for cash payments
  • Less than 150 servers in just 5 countries
  • Doesn’t support L2TP / IPSec
  • Doesn’t connect to Netflix
  • No iOS or Android app – lengthy process to connect via “OpenVPN Connect” app
  • Pathetic performance, lethargic download speeds

Mullvad was built to achieve a political objective rather than as a “good VPN service” – their privacy aspect certainly the strongest; on every other aspect (including performance), Mullvad VPN isn’t even worth mentioning.


PureVPN provides one of the cheapest services at just $3.25 per month for a 2 year-long contract. That is why they have a huge number of servers and over a million customers.

But then some problems cannot be hidden:

  • The 7-day refund period has hidden conditions – a 3GB data cap or 100 VPN session cap.
  • Well known for DNS leaks, and even IPv4 and IPv6 leaks
  • Kill Switch often malfunctions – several users noted that it actually shut down their computer
  • Deplorable speeds and almost negligible performance
  • Explicitly claims to log of VPN session metadata (which can apparently get people arrested).
  • Uses “Virtual VPN Servers” that mimic a different physical location – this is an attractive feature as well as a major security flaw depends on who you ask

PureVPN is a cheap, good-for-nothing VPN knockoff. The only reason they have a million *users is that they have a cheap 2-year plan and good marketing tactics. You might find more skeletons in PureVPN’s closet if you ask them how many of those million customers abandoned their accounts within first 3 months of their purchase.


FrootVPN is the cheapest VPN service in the market. It is a good VPN provider if you stay in Europe and choose European VPN servers

But so many users have reported so many problems:

    • Very slow speeds (less than 100 servers) and unresponsive customer support
    • No desktop clients for Mac or apps for mobile
    • Claims “no logging” but then also provides your bandwidth usage stats for 6 months
    • Sketchy privacy policy of only 250 words
    • No free or trial plans
    • 30-day “no questions asked” money back policy has a hidden caveat – you must give a reason and the company must determine that it’s reasonable enough to offer a full refund.
    • No killswitch – if the VPN-secured public Wi-Fi connection drops, you wouldn’t even know when you are switched to your insecure data connection

FrootVPN does provide a cheap $2.99 / month plan with yearly payment, but that’s where its features stop. They’re still a growing company – many have verified it’s not a scam! But one shouldn’t fall for their low prices and then suffer low speeds.


The best thing about PrivateVPN is that it offers 6 simultaneous collections from all devices. It also has Android and iOS mobile apps, besides the usual Mac and Windows VPN client apps.

Upon further investigation however, the cracks reveal themselves:

  • No Kill Switch (Connection Guard in Windows app does something similar)
  • No protection from IP leaks
  • 24-hour free trial needs a code for checkout, which has to be generated by emailing their support team
  • Basic but feature-less client apps, need OpenVPN software

While PrivateVPN does do a lot of things better than other VPN services on this list, there is no single biggest reason to go for it. It is also priced higher while providing a very basic interface. For similar price, you can get much more detailed interface on other VPN services.

The post How to Avoid Bad VPN Providers appeared first on TechWorm.

on October 20, 2017 04:18 PM tagged with Providers

Keep up with the glitzy awards world with our bi-weekly Awards Roundup column.

– The Film Society of Lincoln Center has announced that Academy Award–winning actor Helen Mirren will be honored at the 45th Chaplin Award Gala on Monday, April 30, 2018. A beloved figure of stage, screen, and television, Mirren has bestowed upon the world a series of iconic performances in a career spanning more than fifty years. The annual event will be attended by a host of notable guests and presenters and will include movie and interview clips, culminating in the presentation of the Chaplin Award.

“It is an honor and a pleasure for us to present Helen Mirren with our 45th Chaplin Award,” said Ann Tenenbaum, the Film Society of Lincoln Center’s Board Chairman. “From housemaid to Queen and everything in between, Ms. Mirren has delivered masterful performances of complex characters, upending stereotype after stereotype along the way.”

The Film Society’s Annual Gala began in 1972 when it honored Charlie Chaplin, who returned to the U.S. from exile to accept the commendation. Since then, the award has been renamed for Chaplin, and has been presented to many of the film industry’s most notable talents, including Alfred Hitchcock, Billy Wilder, Laurence Olivier, Federico Fellini, Elizabeth Taylor, Bette Davis, James Stewart, Robert Altman, Martin Scorsese, Diane Keaton, Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks, Sidney Poitier, Barbra Streisand, Robert Redford, Morgan Freeman, and, last year, Robert De Niro.

Helen Mirren

Giles Keyte

– The European Film Academy has announced its five nominees for the European Discovery 2017 Prix FIPRESCI, an award presented annually as part of the European Film Awards to a young and upcoming director for a first full-length feature film. This year’s nominations were determined by a committee comprised of EFA Board Member Angeles González-Sinde (Spain), EFA Member Mihai Chirilov (Romania), and Isabelle Danel (France), Robbie Eskiel (Greece) and Michael Pattison (UK) as representatives of FIPRESCI, the International Federation of Film Critics.

The nominees include Hubert Charuel’s “Bloody Milk,” Ralitza Petrova’s “Godless,” William Oldroyd’s “Lady Macbeth,” Carla Simón’s “Summer 1993,” and Ronny Trocker’s “The Eremites.” The 30th European Film Awards will be announced on December 9 in Berlin.

– SFFILM has announced that its second annual SF Honors program will acknowledge the groundbreaking accomplishments of “Darkest Hour,” from Focus Features and Working Title, with a public screening event Monday, November 6, 6:30 pm at the Castro Theatre. Director Joe Wright, the film’s star Gary Oldman, along with actor Ben Mendelsohn, writer/producer Anthony McCarten, and supervising sound editor Craig Berkey will attend in person and participate in a pre-screening special award presentation followed by an in-depth post-screening conversation about their work.

“The remarkable ability of cinema to capture a distinct moment in time drew us to Joe Wright’s ‘Darkest Hour’ and the extraordinary performance by Gary Oldman at its center. We are proud to name it this year’s ‘SF Honors’ recipient,” said SFFILM’s Executive Director Noah Cowan. “This award, a major event in the San Francisco cultural season, would not be possible without the support of Todd Traina and Diane B. Wilsey, significant long-time supporters of the cultural infrastructure of the Bay Area and SFFILM.”

“Get Out”

– As part of its 9th Annual Awards Program, the African American Film Critics Association (AAFCA) has proclaimed 2017 the “Year of the Woman in Cinema.” “There is no argument that women have made a bold step forward this year in Hollywood,” said AAFCA President Gil Robertson in an official statement. “The evidence demonstrated during the past year speaks for itself both in terms of box office and critical recognition by women and we predict that there will be continued momentum going forward. We are also pleased that African American women are a part of this progress and are taking advantage of increased opportunities to make their cinematic imprint.”

The organization also announced the recipients of its special achievement honors, with “Get Out” director Jordan Peele; Alcon Entertainment’s Co-CEO’s Broderick Johnson and Andrew Kosove; current LA Film Festival president, Claudia Puig and ABC Entertainment President, Channing Dungey being recognized.

AAFCA’s “Celebration of Women in Cinema” will take place during the organization’s annual ceremony on Wednesday, February 7, 2018 at the Taglyan Complex in Hollywood. That show will be proceeded by the third edition of the AAFCA Special Achievement Luncheon on Saturday, February 3, 2018 at the California Yacht Club in Marina del Rey, CA.

Master of None

Aziz Ansari, “Master of None”


– The British Academy of Film and Television Arts Los Angeles (BAFTA Los Angeles) has announced that Emmy Award-winning actor, writer, director, and producer Aziz Ansari will receive the Charlie Chaplin Britannia Award for Excellence In Comedy presented by Jaguar Land Rover at the 2017 AMD British Academy Britannia Awards.

He joins previously announced honorees Dick Van Dyke, who will receive the Britannia Award for Excellence in Television presented by Swarovski, Ava DuVernay, who will receive the John Schlesinger Britannia Award for Excellence in Directing presented by the GREAT Britain campaign, Claire Foy, who will receive the Britannia Award for British Artist of the Year presented by Burberry, Kenneth Branagh, who will receive the Albert R. Broccoli Britannia Award for Worldwide Contribution to Entertainment, and Matt Damon, who will receive the Stanley Kubrick Britannia Award for Excellence in Film presented by Newegg. British comedian Jack Whitehall returns as host.

This year’s event will take place on Friday, October 27, 2017 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. The event’s title sponsor is AMD, and the ceremony presented by American Airlines and Jaguar Land Rover.  As part of a recently-launched ongoing partnership with IGN Entertainment, the 2017 AMD British Academy Britannia Awards will be livestreamed across IGN’s platforms that night.

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on October 20, 2017 04:15 PM tagged with Awards Roundup
72 years ago, an ambulatory coil of galvanized steel slinked into the history books.
on October 20, 2017 04:02 PM tagged with Gear

Fear doesn’t need subtitles, but some of the best horror films do. J-horror, the New French Extremity, and other foreign-language scary-movie movements have provided much in the way of terrified shrieks and heightened pulses. Although dialogue may get lost in translation, blood-curdling screams never do. Horror is an especially visual genre, and one of the most universal.

The world is dark and full of terrors, especially where the movies on this list are concerned. Here are our favorite foreign language horror flicks made since the year 2000.

20. “We Are What We Are” (2010)

Horror filmmakers ruthlessly mine for metaphor, often at the expense of credibility. The tricky balance in the Mexican cannibal drama “We Are What We Are” (“Somos lo que hay”) pairs a conventional family unit with the ludicrously grotesque to chilling and absurd effect. Writer-director Jorge Michel Grau’s feature debut has the goriest signifier for underclass strife this side of George Romero’s “Land of the Dead,” but Grau smartly eschews satire for emotional legitimacy. Rather than a subversive treat, “We Are What We Are” aims for a darkly realistic note and finds it. Jim Mickle’s 2013 remake channels the same premise into an impressive dreamlike thriller, but Grau’s movie has a stronger element of desperation, one that resonates beyond the limitations of its gory premise. — Eric Kohn

19. “Alléluia” (2014)

Watching “Alleluia,” Belgian writer-director Fabrice Du Welz’s fourth feature, is like watching the world through a serial killer’s glasses. Inspired by the Lonely Hearts Killers of the 1970s, the movie follows an isolated woman named Gloria (Lola Dueñas), whose severe desire for a professional hustler (Laurent Lucas) leads her to assist his vicious acts of murder. The story may sound like an urban legend you’ve seen before, but Du Welz’s execution is unexpected and unshakable. Exploring the mindset of his protagonist by visualizing her unraveling psyche in every edit and camera angle, Du Welz replaces cheap thrills with an experimental and calculated sense of torture. As a result, “Alleluia” feels like nothing American horror directors bring to the table. –ZS

18. “Evolution” (2015)

Some movies revel in mysteries that don’t require solutions. In French director Lucile Hadzihalilovic’s mesmerizing and maddening “Evolution,” the story centers on a 10-year-old boy (Max Brebant) who lives in a remote seaside hospital where the staff subjects him and other children to an alarming medical process. Their mothers provide no answers as to what’s going on, and neither does Hadžihalilovic, though she carefully assembles the puzzle pieces to form an enigmatic whole that seriously gets under your skin. As the questions build (Where do the adults go at night? Where are all the men?), Hadžihalilovic pulls you deeper into an unsolvable hell that feels like some kind of a trance. Mixing the abstract art-house vibes of “Under the Skin” with the body horror of David Cronenberg, “Evolution” is one beautiful nightmare. –Zack Sharf

Read More:The 15 Best Monster Movies of the 21st Century

17. “Suicide Club” (2001)

“Suicide Club” isn’t conventionally scary — nothing that the irrepressible Sion Sono makes is conventionally anything — but it’s so unsettling that it sinks into your psyche like a night terror, continuing to haunt you long after you’ve forgotten what actually happens in this movie (that is, if you were ever able to make sense of it in the first place). Of course, nobody could ever forget the film’s bloodstained opening sequence, in which 54 uniformed schoolgirls all hold hands and jump in front of a Tokyo commuter train. From there, “Suicide Club” blisters into a broken portrait of millennial Japan, exploring the darkest crevices of the country’s generation gaps with a demented grin. How it all leads to a group of kiddie pop stars whose singles literally make people want to kill themselves… well, you have to figure that out for yourself, but rest assured you’ll never be able to get those infernal songs out of your head. — David Ehrlich

16. “A Tale of Two Sisters” (2003)

In general, after your sister’s stay in a mental institution it’s less than ideal to bring her home when your stepmom has decided to engage in an unusual relationship with ghosts. “A Tale of Two Sisters” is a psychological horror-thriller that mines the buried secrets of a family’s past and leaves the viewer as unsettled as the two sisters. A smartly assembled, non-linear film, it may require a second viewing to fully comprehend but will have you deeply disturbed by the end of the first act. The level of craft and storytelling are remarkable; Kim Jee-woon meticulous care with his images mirrors his careful plotting of how to completely screw with the viewer’s head. “Sisters” became the highest-grossing Korean horror film and the first to screen in the U.S., where it was remade in 2009 as “The Uninvited” starring Emily Browning and Elizabeth Banks. –CO

on October 20, 2017 03:36 PM tagged with Let the Right One In

The continuous growth of cryptocurrencies comprise technical difficulties as well as problems exterior to cryptocurrencies themselves, including a lack of clear regulatory guidelines and security issues caused by independent, centralized services.

The continuous growth of cryptocurrencies is a journey that has had multiple roadblocks along its way. Not only are technical difficulties bound to happen, but there are also several problems that are exterior to cryptocurrencies themselves, including a lack of clear regulatory guidelines and security issues caused by independent, centralized services.

Hacking and regulation

During the course of this year, we’ve witnessed these two major problems disrupt the cryptosphere at a concerning scale. Last year, we saw a hack that cost Bitfinex over $70 mln and, in 2017, the sudden closure of BTC-e. We’ve also seen the power that regulatory entities can have over the crypto ecosystem, with countries like China banning ICOs and even cryptocurrency exchanges altogether.

The lack of regulations and recent attempts to create a regulatory framework that, willing or unwillingly, penalizes companies and individuals in the space may be but a passing problem. However, the security issues that have plagued cryptocurrency trading platforms and online wallets since the inception of crypto are not. From the infamous Mt. Gox disaster to the recent Bitfinex hack, time has shown us that centralized services will always have flaws and that hackers will always have ways to find and exploit them.


There is no problem too big for the developing community and, sure enough, a solution is already available. Decentralized exchanges (DEX) allow their users to buy and sell cryptocurrencies with no third party involved. These decentralized platforms are not new. Platforms like Waves DEX, BitShares, NXT, CounterParty, and many others have been around for a while. These exchanges all leverage Blockchain technology in order to provide users with a trustless trading experience.

With promising tests being conducted on atomic swap technology by projects like Komodo, the Altcoin Exchange and many others, the prospect of fully decentralized exchanges seems to be getting closer to reality every day. There is, however, another solution that has been around for awhile now. The predecessors of decentralized exchanges themselves, peer-to-peer exchanges allow users to buy and sell cryptocurrencies directly from each other using out-of-band payment methods.

P2P exchanges

Today, we’re going to take a deep look at p2p exchanges in order to find out if there is still a place for these platforms once decentralized exchanges “take over”, which may not be too far ahead.

Peer-to-peer exchanges offer multiple advantages when compared to their fully decentralized peers. Let’s take a look:

Growing popularity

Starting with the fact that made us ask this question in the first place, peer-to-peer exchanges are becoming more popular every day. Despite the recent progress made by decentralized exchanges, users are still more likely to resort to platforms they find simple and familiar (we’ll talk more about this in the next section). Data from Coin.dance shows us just that:

LocalWhen looking at the CNY volume data from LocalBitcoins, we can see two accentuated spikes right around the time when the People’s Bank of China cracked down on cryptocurrency exchanges for the first time, and then again when the latest move forced exchanges like BTCC to stop providing trading services in the country indefinitely:

ChinaHowever, one must also wonder if these exchanges are immune to government action. Centralized exchanges are much more versatile in complying with the law and defending themselves against hacker attacks.

“We have fiat”

Fiat. No matter how much you love Bitcoin and crypto in general, cash is still king and there is really no easy way of getting around it. Although decentralized exchanges allow users to exchange cryptos for cryptos, the system is pretty much closed off from fiat currencies. Although some projects like Waves and Bitshares offer fiat-pegged tokens, turning these tokens into actual money (and vice-versa) is no easy task and requires the user to trust a centralized gateway.

Peer-to-peer exchanges like LocalBitcoins and Paxful allow users to quickly set up an account and buy cryptocurrencies without the need to make a fiat deposit. Instead, payment is done directly to the user in the agreed payment system, and the Bitcoin is then released from escrow to the buyer. This allows users to retain a certain amount of privacy when compared to centralized gateways.

Although users can only purchase Bitcoin in most P2P exchanges, the upcoming Qvolta platform will feature a wider selection of cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin, Ether, Monero and others, ensuring users can have direct access to different investment vehicles within the cryptosphere, and also giving them the ability to safeguard their privacy through the use of privacy-centric coins like Monero.

Simple and intuitive

Decentralized exchanges are still in their infancy and, while there’s still much to be done, there seems to be a huge discrepancy when comparing the ease-of-use in centralized exchanges with the lack thereof in decentralized ones. While Blockchain projects have made incredible advancements and provided simple graphic interfaces, some confusion is bound to happen for less-than-tech-savvy users.

Downloading and installing the software, creating and backing up a wallet, and many other additional steps may deter average users from taking advantage of the benefits provided by DEX’s. Peer-to-peer exchanges, however, are as simple as they are convenient. Users are only required to visit the website, create an account, and they can start buying/selling coins.

Some will even feature a mobile application for iOS and Android, an important step for cryptocurrency mass adoption given mobile phone ownership rates are high among the unbanked population, those who can benefit the most from cryptocurrency use and investments.

No proxy tokens

This is a problem that may be solved with the rise of atomic swap technology, but current decentralized exchanges require the trader to use what is known as a “proxy token”. These tokens are used in order to allow Blockchain-based DEX’s to trade cryptocurrencies that exist outside of their respective Blockchain.

Waves, for example, uses proxy tokens like “wBTC” and “wETH” to facilitate the exchange of these assets. However, the practice adds one extra step and requires user to trust centralized gateways that store the base asset in order to ensure a 1-1 peg is maintained. While this is not a deal breaker for some users, it can deter others from using the service.

Revenue stream

Yes, peer-to-peer exchanges are not only empowering users by providing easy and safe access to the cryptosphere, but they are also creating additional revenue sources for those who wish to take advantage of them. For sellers, it’s common to sell Bitcoin for inflated prices when dealing with revertible payment methods like PayPal and others, given that there’s a risk factor involved. However, if this risk can be managed by the seller, the P2P exchange can become his new workplace, with personal account systems where users can create offers for their preferred exchange rate according to the tariff they have purchased.

Additionally, users can also earn an income through affiliate programs that are created by these exchanges. LocalBitcoins offers an affiliate system, as well as Qvolta. Referral programs can help the entire ecosystem, allowing users to earn extra cash for inviting friends, thus bringing in more people and creating a larger variety of options for buying and selling coins.


Not all is perfect, though. Peer-to-peer exchanges still have some fundamental problems that can hamper their growth in the future. Including their centralized infrastructure that relies on web servers to host the platform itself, a property not shared with Blockchain-based decentralized exchanges.

P2P exchanges are also not 100 percent safe, and scams are bound to happen. Malicious actors take advantage of the refundable payment methods in order to keep purchased coins and the fiat spent on them. This same factor has also led some sellers in P2P markets to start asking for ID verification before making a deal, a less-than-optimal practice when it comes to privacy and security.


So, the question still stands. Can decentralized exchanges replace peer-to-peer exchanges completely? From what we’ve seen today, the popularity of P2P exchanges are not declining, and the advantages they offer are not currently achievable by Blockchain-based DEX’s, at least with the technology currently available.

As the tech is tuned, decentralized exchanges may indeed become more popular among cryptocurrency users. However, we believe that P2P exchanges will be here for a while and will most likely coexist with fully decentralized ones, even if centralized trading platforms become extinct, acting as a sort of middle ground or gateway to a fully decentralized ecosystem.

- Frisco d’Anconia, Guest Author

on October 20, 2017 03:27 PM tagged with Tokens